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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News looks at the Wallabies squad, Cheika addressing the Wallabies major flaw, the Waratahs new signing and a typhoon ready to cause havoc.


Wallabies make mass changes

"look at me, I am the captain now"

“look at me, I am the captain now”

The Wallabies have dropped captain and flanker Michael Hooper to the bench for their final pool stage clash against Georgia on Friday night.

Hooper has been relived from captaincy duties by David Pocock, who reverts to his favoured position of openside flanker, with Waratah Jack Dempsey slotting in as the other flanker.

It marks just the seventh time Hooper will start off the bench in what’s set to be his 99th Test appearance, and only the second time he’s done so with Cheika as the coach.

The move is amongst the ten personal changes that coach Michael Cheika has made to the side that defeated Uruguay 45-10 on Saturday, with Dempsey, Nic White, Matt To’omua, Kurtley Beale and Jordan Petaia the only players retained from the starting line-up, with the 19-year-old sensation swapping to the right-wing after his incredible debut.

The other big change that has been implemented is the selection of Matt To’omua at flyhalf.

To’omua replaces Christian Lealiifano in the number ten jersey, who has reverted back to the bench as part of the Wallabies workload management program for the 32-year-old as he continues his recovery from leukaemia.

It represents the third different starting flyhalf used by the Wallabies across the four pool games, with Lealiifano starting in the opening game against Fiji, before returning a fortnight later after Waratah Bernard Foley was selected to face Wales.

In further team news, Brumby Allan Alaalatoa has been rested in the front row and will be replaced by Sekope Kepu, with hooker Tolu Latu and Scott Sio returning to the starting team.

Despite his man of the match performance last week against Uruguay, Tevita Kuridrani has not retained his spot in the matchday 23, with Samu Kerevi and James O’Connor returning to the centres and Dane Haylett-Petty securing the final bench spot.

Wallabies (15-1): Kurtley Beale, Jordan Petaia, James O’Connor, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Matt To’omua, Nic White, Isi Naisarani, David Pocock (c), Jack Dempsey, Rory Arnold, Izack Rodda, Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Scott Sio

Reserves: Jordan Uelese, James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Adam Coleman, Michael Hooper, Will Genia, Christian Lealiifano, Dane Haylett-Petty

Cheika admits fault

Michael Cheika was practising being sad even before kickoff.

Michael Cheika was practising being sad even before kickoff.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has done what was considered to be the impossible: admitting that his side has a problem.

Cheika has conceded that the Wallabies faces a real problem with the height of their tackling and must change defensive techniques in training this week to mitigate the issue.

The Wallabies were penalised four times in the opening half against Uruguay for high contact, losing Adam Coleman and Lukhan Salakaia-Loto to the sin bin within a 15 minute period.

Cheika has revealed that these issues have been addressed, stating that they must change their ways regardless of if they think it’s right or wrong.

“We are addressing that, we have some ideas on how we can be better at that,” Cheika said.

“Maybe because no matter how you see the pictures, the penalties are real, so you have got to do something, because whether it is truth or perception, we are getting the arm raised against us and we are losing players to the bin, for things that we shouldn’t be.

“So we have to improve our tackle area as a whole. Just getting a bit better there.

“We have worked on some things, I am not going to go into detail here but we have worked on a few things that we want to try and do in this game and we’ll see if they work for us, to give us a better defensive line and better height in the tackle.”

Centre Samu Kervei tried to pin-point the excessive amount of high tackles, putting it down to the side going away from its defensive structures and principles.

“For us we tend to go high when are not staying in our structure and our principles for our game, especially defensively,” Kerevi said.

“When we are going through our principles, our tackles will be fine. It’s just we are sitting back at times and we are creating that picture for those high tackles, and we’re reaching or whatever it is.

“But when we are moving forward as a team, we’re really happy with it.

“Sometimes it is just the nature of the game and the nature of the beast, that certain runs, guys dipping their heads, we can’t control that. All we can control is how we prepare for the tackle itself.”

Waratahs raid Rebel forces

Photo credit: Delphy

Photo credit: Delphy

New Waratahs coach Rob Penney has made his first signing, recruiting prop Tetera Faulkner from the Rebels.

The former Wallaby has signed a two-year deal to help bolster the rebuilding franchise’s forward pack, joining after his responsibilities with the Rising finish up.

Faulkner brings some much need experience to the Waratahs, with the 31-year-old set to bring up his 100th Super Rugby cap next year.

“Tetera’s 99 Super Rugby games speaks to his overall qualities as a player but more specifically his toughness and durability,” coach Rob Penney said.

“His scrummaging is really well regarded and the role he can play within our front-row group will be important next season.

“To have Tetera working alongside the likes of Tom Robertson and Harry Johnson-Holmes shows we’re making progress in gathering a group of players that will support and drive one another for success in what is a key area for us.”

“He’s played Test match rugby and understands what it takes to reach the pinnacle of our game, Tetera has a lot to offer and is a great addition to our squad for 2020.”

Faulkner was looking forward to representing a third Australian Super Rugby franchise, having spent stints at the Rebels along with the Force.

“Speaking with Tim [Rapp – NSWRU General Manager of Rugby] throughout this process has got me really excited about the prospect of being a Waratah,” Faulkner said.

“It’s an exciting time for the team with Rob [Penney] coming in and other changes around the squad, to be a part of that and hopefully deliver success to the [NSW] Waratahs is something I’m really striving to achieve.

“I was a part of the Academy here at the [NSW] Waratahs back in 2011 and while things have changed a lot since then, I still feel really comfortable coming back into the Super Rugby set up.”

Hazardous Hagibis

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There are real fears that a Typhoon heading towards Japan will have hazardous effects over the final round of pool games.

Typhoon Hagibis is set to bring high winds and heavy rain to southern parts of Japan on Saturday and Sunday, which could force a number of important matches to be moved or cancelled completely.

It has rapidly increased in projected severity over the past 24 hours, going from a tropical storm to a category five typhoon in the space of 24 hours.

According to The Weather Network website is the “strongest storm anywhere in the world” and could be the most destructive anywhere on earth this year.

World Rugby released a statement on Monday, suggesting that it was too early to predict its trajectory and there were robust contingency plans in place in case of the worst.

“While it is too early to determine the exact trajectory and impact, if any, of the typhoon at this early stage, as per previous typhoon warnings, we have a robust contingency programme in place in the event adverse weather looks likely to impact fixtures.” the statement said.

“We will continue to closely monitor this developing situation in partnership with our weather information experts, local authorities, transport providers and the teams, and will provide a further update tomorrow. Fans are advised to monitor official Rugby World Cup channels for any updates.”

This could have direct impacts on the Wallabies progression out of the pool stages, with first-placed Wales’ match against Uruguay in the potential firing line.

Rugby World Cup rules state that in abandoned matches both teams split the four points, taking two each.

If their game is cancelled (and Wales don’t get a bonus-point win over Fiji on Wednesday), the Wallabies could shoot to the top of Pool D with a bonus-point win over Georgia, whose game is expected to be unaffected.

  • formerflanker

    Why is Hooper “dropped” and Allan Alaalatoa “rested”?

    • Nathan Williamson

      IMO I think this is the backrow that they are going for heading forward, although saying “dropped” is probably a bit harsh on my behalf

      • Patrick

        Whilst I might have picked a back row something like that myself, I’d be stupefied if Hooper didn’t start against England.

      • Huw Tindall

        How much you putting on Hooper not starting against England? I’d wager more likley to see Dempsey, Hooper, Naisarani start.

        • Ads

          With LSL covering the row, Coleman out and Pocock coming on for Dempsey with 30 to go. Hooper has played well and won’t be dropped.

        • UTG

          They certainly aren’t dropping our best forward of the tournament.

          Last time we’ll see Pocock in the 7 jersey though.

        • Greg

          Last time we’ll see Pocock in the 7 jersey though.

          This makes me very sad. He has been an ornament to the game. We could have achieved so much more during his playing time.

        • Perth girl

          Yes, he has been royally shafted by Cheika over the years

        • Ads

          I reckon that’s an exaggeration. He’s either been injured or on sabbatical for large periods of time. He has been in the team for the majority of the time he was available.

        • RedAnt

          Yes but not in the team in his best position

        • Ads

          He has played his natural game. There are legitimate questions around back row balance etc, but don’t think he would have played significantly differently if he had a 7 on his back.

        • RedAnt

          I guess we’d have to ask him! But in my opinion he tried to cover 7 and 8, and, well, that’s just too much even for him.

        • UTG

          If he’d been the sole 7 then he would have still played as a 1 in the 1-3-3-1 setup so I don’t see how his role there would have changed in attack. He’s always played as the poacher in defence even alongside Hooper so it’s not clear it would have made a lot of difference in defence either.

          Sadly, the game’s moved on now and he doesn’t seem to have the breakdown effectiveness he once did. As it currently stands, Hooper is going to be rightly selected ahead of him as the 7.

        • Who?

          The game hasn’t moved on, the refs are just having a terrible tournament at enforcing the laws of the game (i.e. staying on your feet, not sealing off, etc).
          But I don’t think Hooper’s been the major issue in our loose forwards the last few years. It’s been balance, and the fact our other loose forward hasn’t brought the needed attributes to complement the other two selected (when they’ve both played).
          And 2015 we overachieved at the RWC (given the disaster that came at the end of 2014).
          And 2011 was Deans’ failings. Like not having a back up 7 for the Ireland game.

        • UTG

          Well, the game has all but moved on for Poey. If they do tighten up the breakdown (completely agree it’s shambles) post RWC he’ll have retired.

    • Huw Tindall

      Clickbait to get us commenting :D ?

      • Nutta

        Hook line sinker…

  • GeorgiaSatellite

    In a turnaround from the usual way these things play out (especially against Tier Twos), South Africa were up 45-0 at half time against Canada yet finished at 66-7 against 14 men for the last 44 mins. I don’t know what to make of that.

    • I would read into it that it’s hard to keep your foot down when the game is so totally won? They just relaxed because the contest was over.

      • Damo

        The Saffas just used the 2nd half to test the referee’s & AR’s tolerance for the offside line.

  • Steve

    We are slowly moving towards the ideal team I think – I wonder if this signifies the end of the Pooper (whether it’s Hooper or Pocock starting) or whether this is temporary for this game only.

    Dempsey is really a 6.5 which is almost exactly what we need at the moment – The Wallabies’ biggest downside has been ruck security, and a 5.5 like LSL really isn’t cutting it in terms of arriving quickly enough.

    I personally think 10. Toomua and 22. CLL is the ideal at the moment, I just wish they’d stop chopping and changing. It’s too late now in any case – Whatever combination is chosen for (probably) England, they will have had a maximum of one game previously. Really poor selection strategy IMHO.

    Glad 7As is finally getting a rest, he was an absolute workhorse for the Brumbies this year but was starting to worry he was getting too much time.

    • I have mixed feelings about this squad. Part of me feels this looks more or less like I’d like the starting squad against England for the QF. Personally I’d swap CLL and Toomua – Toomua is a better cover off the bench in that he covers more positions – and although I personally prefer Pocock at 7 with Hooper on the bench I wouldn’t be mortally offended if they were the other way round.

      Like you I think the centre combinations are limited by who plays well together.

      But then, like you, I look at Beale at full-back and hope that’s a 1-off for Uruguay because against England… ouch.

      • Custard Taht

        Yeah but Beale has the X-factor…….unfortunately all that X does is mark the spot for where the opposition should attack.

        • Ah, I was going for solve for X where the solution is the number of times he drops the ball from a high kick!

        • Custard Taht

          X could grow exponentially, if you include turn overs as a result of poor ball security and missed tackles.

        • X?
          Id go more trig than alg..where X is the axis.
          One could hypothesise he should be referred to as h, the crap angle.

        • Greg

          I was looking for a de that considered what Foley was up to and the rate of change of score and…. realised i was probably overthinking….

          Just play well guys.

        • Seb V

          Comment of the year.

      • Steve

        I wouldn’t be too upset if CLL and Toomua were swapped either Eloise – The biggest problem is that there was really a chance to bed down a combination over the group matches, and that chance has now been lost.
        Primarily because Cheika just couldn’t help himself playing Foley vs. Wales.

        • AllyOz

          I agree. If he had wanted to give Foley a run then it shouldn’t have been against starting against Wales – he may have justified him starting against a Tier 2 or perhaps off the bench against Wales (I actually think if he is anything at the moment he is a bench option but I don’t think he should be ahead of either of the other two). The only justification I could see for playing him against Wales was that Cheika had already ruled him out for the finals and thought he might get through against Wales without showing too much and keeping some surprises. But I don’t think that is why he did it, i think he did it out of loyalty and that if he had put in a blinder (which he is capable of doing) then he could justify using him for the rest of the tournament. He didn’t so all it became was a wasted opportunity to test our best side against the highest quality opposition in the pool.

        • Missing Link

          I couldn’t work that out either unless Cheika went with “better the devil you know” selection option, although given that the last game Foley started was against NZ in Eden Park wasn’t it? coming off a big loss!

        • Who?

          Nah, twas Jo’Burg.

        • Patrick

          That decision absolutely nailed it for me that Cheika is a very stable genius, but not an international coach.

    • Patrick

      Getting to the breakdown is just a question of gameplan. Hooper and Pocock are both capable of hitting rucks almost before they happen if they are told to play that way.

      Dempsey isn’t going to hit more rucks than either of them, he isn’t going to hit any metric higher than them if they are aiming for it.

      • Brumby Runner

        I reckon Poey hits more rucks (probably many more) when in the No 7 spot and earlier than Hooper. I also think Dempsey has a similar ruck involvement to Poey when Poey is playing No 6. I expect the net effect of starting Dempsey and Pocock will be an increase in number and improvement in quality in the competition for the ball at ruck time. That’s why I thin k it could be the best combination for the Wallabies in the remaining games.

        • Seb V

          Interesting. Do you think Dempsey hits more then Hooper though? Hooper hits rucks pretty hard (a little too hard at times), and Dempsey was a little inaccurate early on the game against Uruguary. I’d say Poey is the most accurate and effective at securing our own ball based on this RWC.

      • Steve

        I can see what you’re saying – technically there should be no better pair than Hooper & Pocock than getting to and clearing out offensive rucks, but for whatever reason the breakdown has been a constant source of errors and poor quality/lost ball so far.

        Perhaps the issue isn’t as simple as selection so much as a more fundamental coaching issue?

        • numpty

          Depends where the ruck security issues are. They may all be in the midfield in the pods. Need a heat map of where turnovers are occurring on the pitch. Poey and Hooper both class at securing rucks, problem occurs when either of them are the ones taking the ball into contact. Hooper and Poey to start against england purely for defence, LSL on bench if you want to target the lineout, dempsey for general field play.

        • Patrick

          Pocock hits up very well in tight, generally.

        • Brumby Runner

          Hooper seems to me to be more inclined to be looking for the ball to have a run than to hit the ruck to protect it.

        • Patrick

          I more or less agree BR but my point is that the matches earlier this year in particular strongly suggested to me that this was partly a coaching/strategy question not purely a player question.

        • Brumby Runner

          Very likely Patrick. But whatever the cause, it means the Wallabies are playing with seven and a half forwards and seven and a half backs. Is that really what we want?

        • Patrick

          No I would have sacked the coach two years ago.

        • Patrick

          Funny you should ask, Steve, whatever gives you that idea? :)

      • AllyOz

        I think he is a better ball carrier than either Hooper or Pocock and better in the lineout.

        • Patrick

          That may be, but I have to see either really.
          – Pocock makes more yards in tight than I saw him make and has a nice pass sometimes. Hooper has often struggled to make yards in tight and I don’t think he should be focusing on that.
          – I have seen Hooper (depending on how he is asked to play) run quite effectively slightly wider, at least as well I saw Dempsey do it.
          – Hooper is increasingly effective in the line-out in my view.

        • AllyOz

          I can’t agree on the running of Pocock vs Dempsey. Dempsey on the weekend ran 98 metres from 8 carries with 2 clean breaks and 4 defenders beaten on the weekend from his 80 minutes. Pocock, in his 30 minutes ran 8 metres from 4 carries and beat 2 defenders but didn’t offload or pass. In his full 80 minutes against Fiji (obviously much tougher opposition) Pocock made 8 metres from 7 carries. In his full 80 minutes against Wales, Pocock made 4 metres from 9 carries. Pocock is a brilliant player but he isn’t a ball running 6 or 8, not naturally.

          In any case, the comparison we should be making is Dempsey vs LSL and Dempsey, at least in that one game, had much better numbers. Demspey’s numbers from that game were much better than either of Isi Naisirani’s games as well. Of course this is a very small subset of numbers and can be thrown out by one good run.

          However, selecting Hooper and Pocock in the same run-on team, while they might be better overall players than any of the other loose forwards, doesn’t mean we get a better team or have a better performance and I think, when you look at our results over the past 4 1/2 years, it hasn’t really worked and a more traditional 6/7/8 gives us a better overall result (though certain aspects aren’t better). But I don’t have the stats to back that up.

        • Patrick

          I do agree with your last paragraph :)

          Re Dempsey I’m open to that but not sure. I’m biased against him as a Tah, I’ve seen too many shithouse tahs dumped into the Wallabies, so I should factor that in :)

          But I have seen Pocock carry perfectly well in tight, make one or two metres and recycle which is sometimes all we need. That is the role “in tight” I was referring to.

        • AllyOz

          I understand the anti-tahs thing. There was perhaps so justification for a large cohort in the team after they won the 2014 SR title but that’s 5 years ago.

          Pocono has never really been used as a wider runner so its hard to say but, given he was a 12 as a schoolboy I would be very surprised if he didn’t make an excellent job of it. His secret is no big secret. He just works his arse off. But I personally think Dempsey, Hardwick, Naisarani and a couple of blokes at the Brumbies are better 6/8 options – at least to syaty the game.

        • Patrick

          Yep and I’m very open to all that. I actually think we should have tried Hooper as a 6, except I really think that Fardy was doing great and we should have dropped Hooper (who at that time was frankly far less effective than now) for Pocock and used him as a sub instead for either Pocock or Fardy depending on the evolution of the match.

  • Who?

    So, isn’t Tets primarily a LHP? If so… Why Is Penney’s first signing a LHP, when he’s already got two guys in the squad who’ve played LHP for the Wallabies in the past year, when they’re short on THP’s? They’ve lost Kepu, I’m assuming they’re retaining Talakai. Good to keep Talakai, but wouldn’t you be looking to have another quality THP..?

    • Bobas

      I think Faulkner is an allrounder

      • Perth girl

        He sure is. He’s been allround the SR teams!

    • Nutta

      My recollection is that hes quite competent on both sides. I think ts more a squad & culture signing – older thoroughly professional addition.

      • Who?

        Plays both sides, but stronger on the LH. Put it this way – he scrummed at LHP with Ainsley (who I still don’t rate) at THP for the Rebels this year.

        • Nutta

          I’ll agree with that. Ainsley improved but not to where i thought he would or should. Still young though.

  • Haz

    Baffling to see yet another player starting at 10 in the World Cup. I have no clue how Cheika is intending to build a settled team without having consistency in selection at 9 and 10.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      And when it goes wrong in a game it’ll be the referees fault

      • Greg

        To be fair @KRL the refs have not covered themselves in glory so far.

        • Bobas

          Yeah I can’t believe that game Poite selected Foley in 10.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          No they haven’t but none of them have missed a tackle, dropped a pass or knocked a ball on either. I must admit I’ve been so disappointed in the whole management of this tournament from the referee point of view. WR has decided the RWC is the place to bring in some junior referees, leaving more experienced ones at home and wondering why the referees are looking so poor when some of them are clearly out of their depth. On top of this given some shit direction to get the games flowing, then publicly shamed for following that direction – which I think was a mistake. Then told to go extra hard on the high tackle stuff and going completely over the top. Still ignoring critical parts of the game like the gate and off side that is causing so much confusion both on the field and with the spectators watching the game. Then the citing process which is not transparent enough to get over the natural calls of bias followed by a judiciary that is even less transparent and doesn’t explain why two similar tackles get such a different punishment. It’s a royal fuckfest.

        • Greg

          “Still ignoring critical parts of the game like the gate and off side”

          Yep, it’s the teams that adapt to the “interpretations” fastest that benefit….. or else normally have the most cynical play.

        • From NooZealand

          He he he

        • Gun

          I’ve said it a lot and I think we all know it, but one of rugby’s major flaws is refereeing and rule complexity. The successful sporting comps are far more centralised and standard. NFL, NBL and AFL albeit a very regional comp.
          Rugby needs to train, pay and allocate its officials centrally. Til this happens all comps will feature the kind of subjective rulings that currently blight the game at all levels of the professional game. Given that regulations are such a big part of the game the officiating needs more attention than other codes.
          Rugby might have been pro since the 90s but it doesn’t look like it.
          So much focus on refs and their personalities and interpretations shouldn’t be part of the game.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Master in some ways I agree but by hell it’d be expensive and hard to manage. Maybe do it for test matches but trying to do it for tests and all the professional games would be a nightmare to manage and very expensive. Not sure value for money

        • Who?

          Have you seen all the complaints about all the laundry in the NFL this year? Even Brady tweeted he was turning off TNF the other week, with the amount of flags flying for soft holding calls.
          Then you look at the controversy around hits leading with the head…
          Rugby’s not the only issue with refereeing issues. Rugby’s biggest issues aren’t around complexity of law, they’re around losing focus on the basics. It’s really not that complex.

        • Gun

          Just watched Fiji and the northern shaggers. Seems to me it was refereed completely differently to super rugby and all tests pre world cup. No consistency. Hard to watch unless you’re a diehard.

        • HK Red

          A “royal fuckfest” actually sounds like a pretty good event.

        • Yowie

          depends which royals.

        • AllyOz

          I do feel a little sorry for the refs – I think there is a tension between admin and refs and they are being pressured into a lot of decisions. There are significant changes, particularly around the tackle interpretation, that we only seem to be seeing now that the tournament has started. I think that any rule or interpretation changes need to be communicated a year before the tournament starts, ironed out over that time and kept throughout the tournament. We are seeing players having to adapt to a very different interpretation of some rules within the tournament itself and I dont think it does the game any good.

  • Custard Taht

    Well hopefully for the Tahts, IT turns out be a Penneywise decision. I don’t feel optimistic about the Tahs chances next year.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I think Hoss’s claim of Money Penney to be more likely

      • AllyOz

        A Penney for your thoughts on that one KRL or perhaps the Tahs will need to “spend a Penney” to get their squad back up to scratch.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Probably the latter mate although for Hoss it was more “another kiwi out for money and not much else”

        • Hoss

          Are you accusing me of having a ‘point’ because if you are, well, you, what was i saying again ?

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Stinking kiwis coming and instead of taking the dole, taking jobs that should be done by an Aussie. I think

        • Hoss

          You’re a bonza Aussie now.

        • Yowie

          Yeah! We don’t need Kiwis coming over here to keep our Super teams mediocre when we have Aussie coaches available for that.

    • laurence king

      What I don’t understand, we clearly are doing something right. in that our younger players have got to a WC final this year and a younger group have knocked over their Kiwi equivalents. Clearly then we have got some world class coaches. The question, is there such a big step up from WC under 20s to the Waratahs?

      • Custard Taht

        I don’t think so, I think the difference is the coaching and skill development they are exposed afterwards. That is why the NRC needs to continue to grow.

        • laurence king

          So, why not give the Aussie under 20s coach a Super rugby gig?

        • Custard Taht

          Not sure why either. I guess if they chose him for the Tahs job, it would go against their plan to not develop local coaches.
          The other issue is that Larkham is/was heavily involved with U/20s. It might draw attention to the fact that the U20s are killing it with the man who was the reason behind the Wallabies poor record involved, while the Wallabies continue to struggle even after his release.

        • laurence king

          That all sounds and smells highly of self-interest and power games. So you must be correct

      • Custard Taht

        It comes down to coaching. The kiwis continue to delevop their skills as the progress to each level. Our players seem to plateau and show no further skills development.

        • laurence king

          Sorry mate, I don’t explain myself very well, a painter, not a writer. I was referring to the coaches rather than the players. Cause it seems to me that we must have some dam good junior coaches to get the recent results that we’ve achieved.

        • Bernie Chan

          I think that our senior coaches are too risk adverse…player who show flair are considered ‘risky’? So the flair/skill players get marginalized…

        • laurence king

          You suggesting that they don’t fit into the plan?

        • Bernie Chan

          You got me…! On the other hand…no one seems to actually know ‘the plan’…
          I suspect Larkham has been blamed too much for our failures in attack (he was a flyhalf who played ‘what was in front of him’…despite the rigid Eddie Jones method…) and the issues were more Cheika’s doing. Eg. how can the Attack Coach not be told the lineup before it gets announced on match day/eve?

        • laurence king

          yeh, lol, I wasn’t referring to Cheik’s plan (I didn’t use capitals). I think when a coach has a creative player, he needs to realise what a blessing that is and adjust his planning to make best use of it. For example, why didn’t Cheika or Gibson ever make proper use of Folau’s aerial gifts in attack? If I was a coach with such a player in my arsenal, I would have had my 10 raining down bombs on opposition defenses years ago. And any 10 that do it well would get a gig, eg QC

      • Jcr

        Probably a step down for the Under 20s based on the last few years. I think the players in NZ v Aus age groups are evening out pretty closely but NZ has so many good coaches at 1st 15 level , club and rep level and I think that with those numbers the coaches have a lot of competition and so they develop further than Aus coaches because they have to innovate or coach excellence in the players to just to win at that level , the best then carries through to NPC , rinse repeat , then super and then international etc etc Over here , NZ , the days of keeping it in house and looking after the boys , whether they be players coaches or administrators appears to be more the exception rather than the rule , it used to be bad , especially school boy reps etc , I’m not sure you could say the same for Aus rugby.

    • laurence king

      The writing has been on the wall for a while though, and Gibson has not seemingly done any forward planning. We really are being foolish having foreign coaches because in terms of long term goals, they have no skin in the game. They can just walk away.

    • From NooZealand

      I do with Hore out and Penney in. Penney might not be the best for the Tahs, but it will be a much better coach than D. Gibson. I hope so anyway.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nathan, going to be an interesting week with some critical games coming up and the threat of a typhoon to really stir things up. At least it’ll give some teams and their supporters an excuse for when their carefully laid plans fall apart.
    To me this selection means nothing, it’ll be the one against England that is important. It’s against Georgia and with all due respect to those guys, anything less than a 30 point win is a loss no matter who is picked.
    Good to see Cheika finally taking notice of the last 2 years of World Rugby’s fight against high tackles. I suppose better late than never but I’d have thought the tackles should have been looked at earlier. It’s going to be hard for people to change their style and then remember that in the heat of battle, especially as they’ve so often demonstrated their decision making on passing, catching and kicking falls off under pressure already.

    • Nutta

      I reckon the 10 dancing-about it is founded in 3 things:

      1. Simply put Cheks doesnt know anymore who is best in his opinion.
      2. His infatuation – and by that i mean his blind selection loyalty – with Foley is over i think.
      3. Therefore as he isnt investing vertically in one person anymore. Rather he is investing horizontally instead with a broad based portfolio focused on ensuring he has multiple options on-tap to both see if anyone actually steps-up to own it plus give himself injury/disruption insurance.

      It’s not illogical. If it were a financial investment it would be sensible. We may not agree but it’s not an indefensible position in that sense.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Yeah I agree on 2. I think he’s finally realised what we’ve all known for a couple of years and he’s now in a mess because he has nothing else. TBH mate I don’t really care, I honestly can’t see this team getting past England, not so much because of the players but because of the shit management, shit leadership, shit culture, shit game plans and a lack of personal skill development caused by the preceding shit aspects.

        Rock on post Cheika, although with the shit fight happening at the Tahs and clear lack of leadership from RA over the past 5 years I’m not hopeful of a quick turnaround.

        • Nutta

          Wow. You’re cynical this morning…

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I took your cynic pills yesterday mate

        • juswal

          If you super-glue your bum shut, the dribble will stop.

        • AllyOz

          He talks about keeping everyone guessing and keeping the players on edge in his pressers. Maybe that’s what all these changes are about, maintaining an element of surprise. But it means that the combinations that he eventually use have less time to develop under test match conditions and I think the advantage that this would give would be far greater than any perceived benefit of surprise.

        • laurence king

          Lol, could you some it up in ONE word please, I’m not sure I’m getting the picture.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Crap

        • Sevenwithasixonmyback

          What is it exactly that you are trying to say???
          I must say that I am actually quite happy that I only have to endure two more Cheika post-match interviews EVER.
          Then all we have to listen to is the ridiculous drivel from that Morticia Castle broad of yours describing RA’s successes for another year or two, then we can really start to focus on 2023.
          Look out then…

          Always love your analysis and insight KRL

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Hahaha thanks mate. I think most of us are thinking the same

      • Steve

        Thing is Nutta, I can actually kind of see what he was thinking with playing Foley vs. Wales.

        Assuming CLL was having an enforced rest after Fiji, Toomua on the bench with Foley starting looks a much better bet than vice versa. And tbf Foley was even more shit than even I was expecting.

        I think Cheika’s real damage was done some years ago when he let Toomua, White, Fardy etc. head overseas in favour of Phipps, Foley, Shenanigans etc – Only to bring them back for the Cup after realising what he’d lost. (I am working on hearsay here, but understand that he made the pecking order clear to the guys and they chose to head off – I can certainly imagine him being abrasive enough to cause it)

        Had these guys been the mainstays of the team for 4 years, we would undoubtedly be in a different place. It’s too little, too late now.

        • disqus_NMX

          Yeah, but he would have turned the players that stayed into shit too.

        • laurence king

          I think not. I mean he has a certain ability to do that, but the problems with Beale, Foley and Phipps were already there, he has only added a sense of privilege, while at the same time removed their ability to play what’s in front of them

        • Jcr

          I wonder if sense of privilege,or whatever it’s called is instilled far earlier in some rather than in the latter day Wallaby’s. Any player , of any sport who doesn’t have a drive to improve their capabilities irrespective of their skills sooner or later will plateau and most likely before their actual potential is reached. Their are wallaby examples everywhere , players who can only pass one way , goal kickers who maintain a shit % but keep on being chosen to kick, kicking for touch and still fucking missing consistently, bombs that are of fuck all use to anyone, players not chasing kicks , poor tackle technique week in week out, repeated high tackles by some players , dropping the ball in the same circumstances repeatedly , unfit players etc etc Surely to fuck some of these players need to have some pride in what they are doing . It’s all well and good to bar up for the game but surely they owe it to everyone , including themselves that they have sorted the basics and try to improve their own skill sets
          Coach or players ? Fucked if I know but I now need a beer.

        • laurence king

          It’s not enough to get in a side, once you’re in, your goal should be to make yourself indispensable. You look at the ensemble game that former Wallaby teams played. There weren’t weak links. Smart teams are made up of players who work hard to make the most of their abilities.

        • Patrick

          I think it is called being a Tah

        • Patrick

          McMahon as well, who was our hardest hitting forward for two years straight despite conceding 25 kgs to some of them, arguably Higgers as well who never played worse than Hanigan’s best in his life.

          Plus nearly all our second-rows until Arnold, Coleman and Rodda.

        • Who?

          I can see the idea of resting Leali’ifano. But you don’t rest your first choice 10 in your toughest game. You rest him in your weaker games. Uruguay (who he played!). Even Fiji, if it’s got to be one of the first Tests.
          It’s typical clueless Cheika…

      • disqus_NMX

        Step 4 will be realising that QC is actually our best 10…. but I don’t think he will get to step 4 before he gets the axe.

        • Nutta

          I admire your tenacity.

        • AllyOz

          The only way we’ll know is if Cheika does a Tonya Harding on Foley at training as he can only bring QC or someone outside the squad through injury. It would be a master stroke (by the master stroker).

        • Nutta

          Finally we understand the true motivation behind the golf-club…

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Ah that one again. I think that ship’s well and truly sailed

        • disqus_NMX

          For Cheika, sure….. but after that…..

  • Bobas

    Was hoping for a, ‘Foley chosen to freshen up for QF’ headline.

    • Red Block

      Actually I think Foley has played his last test. The biggest shame is he took Quade Cooper’s spot in the WC squad.

  • Missing Link

    Could this be a perfect storm?

    • laurence king

      Do you mean a Wales/Fiji washout? That indeed would be good for us

      • Missing Link

        Yes either that or Wales lose, draw or beat Fiji (minus bonus point) and share the spoils with Uruguay based on as washout, and we beat Georgia by a bonus point.

        • laurence king

          Any one of those will do, but a preference for a Fiji win

  • Greg

    Unfortunately, I think the red for the Canadian last night was deserved.

    I would have liked to have seen the Bok player get a yellow for his trouble as well. He was, imo, cynically offside.

    • Dont think the ref was interested in offside. Check the Boks offside at around the 39th minute in the phases leading upto Canada’s try.

    • Timbo

      I watch it happen and said to myself, he’s gone. Even with the ref trying to suggest it hit the shoulder first, he was trumped by the TMO and decided to play ball.
      The fact that the refs inability/ignorance of the breakdown and the Saffa being a pest caused the Canuck to get in there and remind the bok he was offside, is immaterial but still a big factor.

      • Thoughts exactly. If ref/s had done there job it most likely wouldnt of happened.

  • Bobas

    3rd different fly half of the world cup.

    Cheik thinking – ‘Now Jones will be really surprised when a pick Taniela Tupou there for the quarter final’

    • RedAnt

      It’s all about momentum though, remember?

  • LBJ

    Welcome Phil Kearns!
    NSW rugby looks forward to a long period of prosperity under your leadership.

  • Joe

    Great balance to the forwards! Was screaming for this! Dempsey is such a good player! Although think hooper is in better form than pocock and deserves to start QF. My team for QF:

    Sio Latu AAA
    Roda Arnold
    Dempsey hooper naisarani
    White tomua (in form)
    Kerevi joc
    Koroibete dhp ???(we didn’t pick wingers, Beale?!)

    Slipper Fainga’a Thor (why tf hasn’t he been playing more?!!!!!)
    Coleman pocock
    Genia CLL? Kuridrani

    • Brumby Runner

      1. I would prefer Pocock to start over Hooper at No 7. If Pocock is not fit enough to play 80 minutes, then Hooper at 7.

      2. I have been very disappointed with Kerevi and his apparent inability to recognise and execute when to pass to his supports. Has cost the Wallabies plenty of points I reckon at this RWC. Therefore, go with JOC @12 and Kuridrani @ 13.

      3. I am confident Petaia will make the grade on the wing, so I would have him there.

      4. DHP to play 15 as he is demonstrably in better form than Beale.

      5. Coleman and LSL on the bench to cover 2nd row and back row.

      6. Genia, CLL, Beale.

      • Patrick

        Agree with all that except I would be tempted to have Hooper on the bench. I think he would have a bigger impact than LSL.

  • LBJ

    Toso Viti!

    All eyes on Fiji v Wales tonight.
    For so many reasons, it would be great to see Fiji get the W.
    1. Fiji are the greatest proponents of running rugby – and all of rugby wins when we get to see them in full flight
    2. It would be terrific for a Union that is in pretty bad financial shape
    3. Fiji are the only pacific island (in my experience) where Aus are generally supported over NZ!
    4. The coach – would be great to see McKee get some reward – hes done a terrific job and should have been appointed NSW coach last week (it would reveal the outrageous bias shown by Hore in appointing his mate as he had a hand on the eject button).
    5, 6, & 7. If they get up – Aus will top the pool and avoid England – the only side I don’t think we can beat.

    Vanuinui vinaka!

    • Missing Link

      I’m 100% Fijian tonight :)

    • AllyOz

      If Dave Rennie isn’t already installed, is McKee worth considering as a potential Cheika replacement? He has coached in our system, (U20 asst in 2013) and has European club and International experience and would likely be able to work within a budget.

      Of course, he isn’t fluent in gibberish and appears reasonably sane so that will probably count against him in any comparison with the incumbent.

      Seriously though, perhaps there are Aussie coaches with perhaps as much experience who we should be looking at. The more this campaign goes on, the more I wonder how we would have performed both in 2015 and in the subsequent years with McKenzie in the position and I would love to see him re-emerge as an option to be looked at or at a Super Rugby franchise. It doesn’t seem likely, however, that he has an interest anymore and that is understandable.

      • AllyOz

        Actually has anyone heard what McKenzie is doing these days. The last I read (which was back in 2015) he had given up coaching and returned to working as a city planner helping rebuild Christchurch? Just thought someone might have come across him since then.

        • Greg
        • AllyOz

          In Fishwyck – so right next to all the fireworks and the piles of old magazines?? pretty handy location for an energy from waste project

        • AllyOz

          This sentence caught the attention of my (fourteen year old) brain.

          The project would divert trucks carrying rubbish to Mugga Lane to Fyshwick instead, where they would enter via Ipswich Street, dump their loads indoors, with negative pressure to minimise smell, and leave via Lithgow Street behind.

        • Yowie

          No juvenile sniggering about “negative pressure” at Fyshwick?

        • Alister Smith

          Yes it’s like a sophisticated fart joke.

        • AllyOz

          “negative press to minimise smell” – that’s a sophisticated fart joke right there.

        • Yowie

          That’s much cleaner than what I was thinking. We’ll go with that.

        • Yowie

          If Cheika is going to have a crack at city planning post-Wallabies, I look forward to seeing the Dr Seuss / Escher / 1945 Dresden hellscape.

        • Greg

          Escher – but that is stuff that looks like it leads somewhere only to turn out to be an illusion and bring you back to where you started. Be reasonable.

        • Yowie

          Haha, true. You don’t go backwards with Escher.

        • Alister Smith

          He can go back to his habidashery. Queue Mrs Slocombe’s pussy joke.

    • Thomas Murray

      Have you been to Fiji?Its ABs after Fiji

      • Ian

        I have been to Fiji, many times, they support the good guys over the darkness in my experience.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Hahaha especially 5, 6 & 7

  • Gottsy

    Finally Cheika has seen the light, and realised that the only way to combat inconsistency is to ditch any sort of selection continuity and to pick players out of position. And definitely don’t pick a squad based on form, that would be nuts.

  • Greg

    Are we all watching Fiji go off!?

  • Greg

    As well as red 10 being flattened by friendly fire… I think red 5s eyes are rotating in different directions. I don’t think that is his usual state….

  • Larry Jorgensen

    Yup. Does this put our match against into perspective?

    • joy

      Yes it does. Our 6 tries to two is better than Wales’ 4 tries to 2 against Fiji. Wales surrendered their possession with their kicking game. Its in their DNA, they can’t help selves. Ex popgun Foley, we turned it around. I think Fiji was better than us at countering Wales’ kicking game. that is, they were better at hanging on to the ball and running it back. DHP did this reasonably well. If only we had selected the master of running back – he who shall not be named. Alas the ideologically compromised denied us this choice because he, Folau (oops) dared to promoted Christian values. What????

      • Huw Tindall

        Wales did a Wallabies and were terrible in the first 20 mins. They tightened up and played their Welsh game and took their opportunities. Fiji spilled more pill and threw more forward passes than I’ve seen in a long long time.

        For the Wallabies Foley isn’t the only one to blame. Genia has to take as much responsibility as he threw 3 intercepts to the Welsh 9 who is known for that. After 100 test Genia should be wise to such things. That and our forwards being generally average at securing attacking breakdown.

      • Greg

        Where did that come from! Running one out and getting turned over wouldn’t have helped. The issues were as Hugh described.

  • AllyOz

    I watched the Fiji vs Wales game last night. Semi Radradra was brilliant. I would have to say it was one of the best individual performances I have seen in rugby … ever. He was playing 11 but he was everywhere, taking forward runs, cover tackling, tackling front on forwards, he has good handling skills, incredible footwork and can go from zero to flat out in a few steps.

    It has led me to a new playing rule for World Rugby and Rugby Australia. Similar to the Giteau Law it will be called the Radrara Law. It allows any player who plays for a team that doesn’t make it through the pool stages to play for another country in the knock out stages as long as he has previously represented his new country in one other sport (Semi would qualify through RL). I am not sure if any other players qualify but I don’t really care because its purely based on self interest.

    On a more serious note, it is clear to me that, regardless of whether there is a World Rugby Championship annually or not, both Fiji and Japan, based on their performances at this World Cup, should be brought into the The Rugby Championship. They deserve to be seen playing against the top teams more often than once every four years. Rugby League has already made significant inroads into the Fiji market but if rugby makes the right moves it can nullify that but also grow our game and also present a game that a lot more people will want to watch.

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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