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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News looks at the flyhalf front-runner, a glowing endorsement for Michael Hooper from an ex-captain, the secret behind Marika Koroibete’s sizzling form and Scotland sent to the principal.


Cheika backs Christian

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Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has seemed to tip his hand towards who will start at flyhalf for the quarter-final against England after shedding some light over his strange selection decisions throughout the tournament.

The Wallabies have not played the same individual at flyhalf for consecutive games, with Christian Lealiifano, Bernard Foley and Matt To’omua all used throughtout the group stages.

Cheika revealed that the rotation policy has been down to the continual recovery of Christian Lealiifano from leukaemia, with the coaching staff attempting to limit his workload throughout games and training.

“We were always going into (the World Cup) thinking that we will share roles in that position,” Cheika said.

“Obviously Christian hasn’t played a lot of Test footy. He’s been building and building and building from quite a serious illness and it takes time for him to get up to the levels that he needs to.

“I’m not going to throw him out there in every game, in every minute of every game, and say go ‘slug it out’. The same at training, because you want him to keep his energy.”

Lealiifano admitted that it was a ‘day-to-day process’ although he was confident that his body could handle the rigours of three consecutive full matches if called upon.

“It’s hard to say, as we’ve gone, it’s just been managing each game as we go and seeing how I feel day to day,” he told Rugby.com.au.

“I guess I’d be confident too if I was called upon, but I think it’s just about coming back to the week-by-week case and seeing how they go.

Cheika also praised the performance of his latest choice for the number 10 jersey, Matt Toomua, although admitted that he needed to be more attacking.

“I think he was solid,” Cheika said.

“I thought we need to probably be a bit more attacking in some situations across the board, our outside men as well.

“I thought he was solid there, so we’ll chat about it today after training selections and get a handle on what we want to do into the match on Saturday.”

Super Hooper Moore than capable

Michael Hooper 

Michael Hooper 

Former captain and Wallabies hooker Stephen Moore has hyped up the leadership and importance of Michael Hooper to Australia’s World Cup hopes.

Whilst the debate still rages around the make-up of the Wallabies back-row and whether Hooper or Pocock is the best leader heading forward, Moore has paid tribute to Hooper, suggesting that he was the most important player in Michael Cheika’s side.

“For me, particularly Michael Hooper, he’s been the Wallabies’ best player for a long time,” Moore told foxsports.com.au.

“You talk about consistency, he’s a guy who plays at a certain level every Test match and for a coach they’re the kind of players you want in your team.

“You know come hell or high water when that whistle blows he’s going to deliver a performance that you can set your watch to around his work rate, his desperation, the way he fights for his mates — and that’s real leadership. And that’s how Michael leads the team.”

Moore believes that Hooper’s influence and leadership extend beyond the 80 minutes on the field, revealing that he plays a key role in the planning and preparations of the side before game day.

“What people may not see is his leadership off the field during the week and that’s so important,” Moore said.

“We just spent however long talking about preparation and accuracy and discipline around your preparation and he’s a player who considers everything right from what the travel looks like, what are we going to do when we land and arrive somewhere, all those little things that people who just watch the game on the weekend may not see.

“Michael’s closely involved in all those decisions and he’s asking the questions, he’s thinking about that stuff and that’s what real leadership is.

“We get 80 minutes to show everyone what we stand for, but it’s the time in-between that that gets you ready to play and that’s where leadership is even more important.”

Marika’s marvelous moves

Marika Koroibete 

Marika Koroibete 

Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete believes that extra focus on his agility has been the secret behind his incredible 2019 form.

Koroibete has been one of the Rebels and Wallabies best, lightening up defences with his incredible speed throughout 2019.

The league convert has put it down to extra work done on his footwork with strength and conditioning coach Dean Brenton, which he believes has been the major key to his great form.

“We’ve been working a lot with Dean Benton, he’s been helping the outside backs with certain things that I know that we can improve on,” he said.

“He’s been helping a lot with our agility and our footwork before contact and change of direction.

“And I think it’s been transferred to the field, hopefully, we will see more this week.”

Koroibete is one of the few locks in the Wallabies backline, believing that the stellar form showed by the outside back contingency in the squad will leave the selectors facing plenty of headaches come selection time.

“Hodgey’s back this week and there’s been a lot of competition there,” he said.

“Dane Haylett-Petty has been constantly playing well as well. It’s up to the selectors tonight and for the team selection.

“Jordy’s been doing well for the last couple of games.

“He’s been coming out early these days, prioritising his hamstring, so hopefully you know we can have him again this week but that’s really up to the selectors.”

Whilst he admitted England fullback Jonny May will be a major threat heading into the contest, Marika continued to hum the company line that they were primarily focused on themselves.

“Obviously they have got a lot of big bodies there (and) like Johnny May with like the speed,” the winger said.

“This week we didn’t focus much about the way they are going to play, we focused more on what we are going to do to stop them and what we can work on to combat what they are going to bring.”

Not off Scot free

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After their demoralising loss to Japan on Sunday, Scotland has been issued misconduct charges and referred to a disputes committee by World Rugby.

The charges come after remarks made by chief executive Mark Dodson indicated that Scotland Rugby Union (SRU) had sought legal advice in case the decisive contest in Yokohama on Sunday was cancelled.

Whilst World Rugby stated that a match can’t be postponed until the following day during the group stages, Dodson argued that the “common-sense approach” would be to play the game 24 hours later if it had been cancelled.

For these comments, World Rugby has issued misconduct charges to Dodson and the SRU, with an Independent Disputes Committee set to rule over the case.

“Rugby World Cup can confirm that it has issued misconduct charges against the Scottish Rugby Union in relation to recent comments made about Typhoon Hagibis and its potential impact on the Rugby World Cup 2019 Pool A match between Japan versus Scotland,” the statement said.

“The case will be decided by an Independent Disputes Committee and Rugby World Cup will not make any further comment on this matter pending the outcome.”

Tournament director Alan Gilpin believes that Dodson’s comments gave them no choice but to offer these breach notices.

“Under our tournament rules, we’re very careful that people behave appropriately and as a result of that we’ve referred to independent disputes committee the behaviour and comments of the Scottish Rugby Union,” Gilpin told a news conference.

“Putting any match on is an incredibly complex task on that scale but to do so in those circumstances is remarkable,

“We know they are remarkable, which is why we had a high degree of optimism that we could get this done.”

  • Haz

    Sorry to ruin everyone’s morning but the referees for Eng v Aus are
    Garces
    Poite & Raynal
    Skeen

    • Patrick

      I’m relaxed about all except Skeen. Maube they can put him, Cheika and Eddie in a cage after the match?

      • Patrick

        I’d be tempted to slip Eddie a gun… /joke haha definitely not serious

    • Garces in the middle is a lottery… he will be consistent, it’s a case of what random law-set he’s playing with on the day. And who adapts to it better.

      I like Raynal and in four years time I hope we’re looking at him as one of the best in the world. While I think Poite referees the breakdown in a style that’s very different to Super Rugby I think overall he’s consistent and pretty good. As an AR he has provided quite a decent font of experience to some of the other refs over the last few games. Assuming France don’t go through, I wouldn’t cry if Poite was in the middle for the final, unlike Garces!

      • Patrick

        I like Poite, I don’t know Raynal much and I really don’t mind Garces so much.

        No-one likes Skeen but I hope that with a French vs Kiwi refereeing setup I hope they Garces just says “I have seen it live and have no issues, I saw the replay once and I still have no issues, I am calling play on”

        • onlinesideline

          lol – yep I agree. Skeen though …. OMG….. cant deal with it.

        • Custard Taht

          Welcome to Skeenmantics….The game of chance, where you influence the outcome.

        • Missing Link

          chick chick

      • Missing Link

        The French refs don’t bother me as such, they have their style and it’s our responsibility to play to their style. it’s Ben “look at me” Skeen i’m more concerned about, we must be absolutely squeaky clean, because sure as Sunday, he will stop play to have a look in super slo-mo, so at the same time, we can only hope England, who are not used to having Skeen as the TMO, get Skeen-ed alive :)

        • Greg

          Here is his chance with Mr Farrell!

        • Greg

          The interesting thing here tho….. World Rugby seems to be a supporter of Mr Skeen. Is the message here that he is doing a good job?

        • Missing Link

          I guess he’s following orders to the letter… the problem is that it involves stopping play to review footage multiple times from multiple angles at different speeds which is pissing fans off especially when their players are being sanctioned for accidental contact which looks far worse is slow motion

        • Keith Butler

          I think they will be forewarned.

  • If the information about Lilo is correct, well ok. I appreciate, I certainly don’t know from first hand experience but I’ve heard enough people who do, talk about the step up to test match intensity. I thought there was definitely a case for a rest after the big hit in the Fiji game.

    But, much though it pains me to say it, it sounds like post-hoc justification. Why was he ok to play basically every game of a SR campaign (I know there were compulsory rests) going to the SF stage, and then on into TRC and so on. Even if the plan was not to give him 80 minutes in every game, 50-60 minutes in every game, swap both half back at the same time for most of them sounds reasonable enough.

    I know I don’t have the doctors and so on, and the Wallabies do and perhaps it’s all legit. The trouble is, Cheika’s pulled so many half-inflated balloon rabbits out of wonky hats that the benefit of the doubt over his selections – even for something like this where it should be really in his favour – fled long ago.

    • nmpcart

      Agree EP, if Lilo was capable of week to week SR then surely he is capable of playing consecutive WC games. And if the plan was always to rest him a lot then they needed better cover for the position in the squad.

      • AllyOz

        Yes I imagine travelling to South Africa, playing a quality team at altitude, then going to Argentina to play a near test strength opposition, then flying back to Canberra and taking on someone like the Crusaders would be more physically taxing than 60 minutes against Georgia and Uruguay with little travel in-between. Wales and Fiji might provide a greater physical test but again, if he has made it through Super Rugby with all the additional travel etc I would be surprised that he would find the last four weeks more difficult. Still, as Eloise mentions he has doctors and therapists with more information so perhaps its legit.

        • Honestly, I can see them having to manage his recovery and training between matches carefully, but in matches… not so much.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Morning Eloise,
      Mate I’m not even trying to understand anything now. I’m totally focussed on the post Cheika era that is coming

      • I can see that too. It just offended me, either way actually, to see CLL’s leukaemia dragged into Cheika’s mess like this.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah I get that. It’s just an excuse and a pretty poor one at that

    • Cameron Rivett

      Why was he ok to play basically every game of a SR campaign (I know there were compulsory rests) going to the SF stage, and then on into TRC and so on.

      Precisely this, it is unlikely that his need for a cancer recovery break hit at the exact moment of the most important Wallabies game in 4 years and not during the much lengthier Super Rugby season.

      • UTG

        Or playing a lengthy Super and International season means he needs recovery breaks towards the back-end of the year…

    • Bernie Chan

      You’re too polite…The Clown is just making shit up as he goes. He should be in politics…
      Hope Lilo starts at #10 and has a blinder and kicks well tactically (if the Clown has a kicking strategy…you know, a simple thing like playing the game in their half…), Ellyse Perry’s hubby on the bench to cover 10/12, Thor must be in the squad, surely…

      • I can do polite. People read polite more than CHIKA IS A T**T after all.

    • Jason

      Spot on, even if Christian wasn’t up to it, against Wales (yet somehow was for Uruguay and was on the bench against Georgia) why didn’t we see Toomua starting against Wales. Cheika wanted to start Foley because ‘LOYALTY’ he got burnt because Foley has been rubbish.

      But if this is legit, then we’ll obviously see Christian rested after our quarter final win…. obviously! And if we don’t have a game… it won’t matter what Cheika has done.

      • Who?

        And, if Christian was going to need a break after his first RWC game… Why didn’t we rest him for Fiji (where was always more likely to cop a massive hit) and play him for our key game – Wales?

        • Ads

          Spot on. And style-wise, Christian brings good structure and would be better suited to the (more important) structured Wales game. And Foley (IMO) works better in a less structured enviro from his 7s days (better suited to Wales). Arguably fairer to Foley too given he had played stuff all too.

        • laurence king

          I think that he just got banged up and they couldn’t play him.

        • Who?

          But remember,LK, that the word was that the swapping of the 10’s had been pre-programmed from Australia. If that were the case, it would’ve made way more sense to have to have Christian play Wales. Let someone else deal with Samoa (which they did) and Fiji (which they didn’t).

        • laurence king

          And it’s quite feasible that Cheika would do that, pre-planned just to make the dumb dumber

        • Patrick

          Yes this is pretty obviously what happened. He was plainly struggling after a few tough hits in the first 15 mins.

          How the f*^% that led to selecting Foley will just remain a mystery.

        • Patrick

          It would have been fairer to everyone if they just hadn’t taken Foley.

        • That’s definitely true. He wasn’t in my 31 man squad. But bah, he was always going to be in Cheika’s unless someone broke his leg… and while I don’t think Foley deserves to be in Japan in G&G I wouldn’t so far as to wish him injured like that.

        • Garry

          “his leg..” If said leg is Cheika’s , I’ll put my hand up to do it, but I’m guessing it’s a long que?

        • I actually meant Foley’s, as the only way Cheika would leave him behind, as I’m sure you know!

          You appear to be the first person in this queue to break Cheika’s leg however, there are to be many other queues wishing to commit their own assaults….

        • Garry

          “Arguably fairer to Foley..”, and to Cheika. Definitely unfairer to the other WB teammates, other two selectors, and the majority of Oz rugby supporters ?

        • Ads

          See thing is I don’t hate Foley as a guy. I think there are now obviously better 10 options. But IF you were going to play him, and IF you wanted him to build confidence and you wanted to put your best team out for Wales swapping them would have been better imo.

        • Well the obvious answer, and I guess we’ll see again for Saturday’s team sheet, is that the AssClown talks big about Lilo but for the crunch games falls back on his old favourites…

          And we know he doesn’t consider the opposition, or at least he’s said so. How on earth is he supposed to pick 10’s on a horses for courses basis?

        • Patrick

          I think we can make a reasonable inference at an 80%+ confidence level that he watches the games.

          What he’s drinking when he does, though, is anyone’s guess.

        • I think he’s at some games. But he takes his glasses off so often I doubt he actually sees as much as 80% of any of them….

        • Who?

          The green fairy..?

        • Greg

          s an aside….. 80% is a pretty low CI :-)

        • Patrick

          It’s a level not an interval though

        • Garry

          Eloise, are you onto something? Is Cheika preparing us to Foley-ise this weeks team, due to LLF health ‘scare’?

        • He’ll just do it regardless, he’s laying his excuses early

        • Patrick

          If so, I’ll check the result before watching (I can’t watch it live anyway).

        • sambo6

          Because…maaate…i dont even look at the opposition. I didnt even know we were playing Fiji. I didnt even know if it was the world cup or not. I just focus on what we’re doing.

        • Jason

          Oh, I’d give Fiji more respect than that, but I do agree with the point.

  • onlinesideline

    Dempsey has to start. Hes bloody awesome. We wont win unless we get back to old aussie rugby where the main image of the day is Pommy fatties walking back under the post with their heads down. If we let the Poms take it to us offensively, they get all uppity as in “we can play like Australia too”. We have to take the lead offensively and Dempsey could run rings around the fatties in ruck area.

    Thor has to be picked in 23. Again for the same reason as Jack. Offensive agression. Im sorry Kepu and the concept of experience, test caps blah blah doesnt cut it with me. Hes been a servant but also part of 4 years of loses. Shouldn’t he make way for someone who is a phenomenon on the “brink” of performing on the biggest stage in front of the whole world. Let him burrow over for a try, let him bump off a couple and set up a try, let him smash it in the scrums once or twice. If Cheika doesnt pick him, he dead set is as dumb as a box of rocks and wouldn’t understand selection timing if it fell on his head. This game is made for Thor.

    Im really liking Slips at moment. Sio looks one dimensional to me.

    JOC all the wayyyyyy to start, hands down. He wins matches full stop. Can slice through anything and will be very comfortable against the fatties after his 5 year stint amongst the WAGS and spa brigade.

    Play wise, its painfully obviously. Fast to brreakdown and fast delivery to unlock the backs. Simple but we do it one match and forget it the next. If White doesnt start and have a 60 minute blinder then Im afraid it just wont work.

    Lilo – G-d bless him – hope he has the game of his career.

    More to come …… bahahahahahahah

    • BarneySF

      Speed to breakdown spot on. IIRC, in that awful 3-test series we lost, if you watch the first 20 or so minutes of game 1, we were actually blowing England off the park – at speed. But we then just ran out of puff, and the score speaks for itself.

      • Birdy

        Not sure that’s what happened. England’s defensive alignment was all over the place. Eddie took the centre (Burrell) off after 20 minutes. After that, all changed.

        • BarneySF

          That must have been it! Something happened and it all went ‘orribly wrong. Never brought myself to re-watching. I just remember being ‘happy” for the briefest of moments. Almost as if it was play on from the last time we played them in WC 2015.

        • Birdy

          It just goes to show how in clashes between Tier 1 sides, it only takes one player to be on the wrong page and you’re suddenly 10-0 down.

    • Keith Butler

      Like your first paragraph OLSL. Trouble is the fatties are no longer fat as was the case back in 2015/16 the SDs are fit and have a more that decent squad. Agree Tupou has to be in the 23, he is the future and has been underused imo. Dempsey, Naisairani and Hoops would be a more than decent back row. A back line of White, CLL, Koribete, JOC, Kurandrani, Petaia and DHP would cause problems as well. Have a feeling that Cheika may slip Hodge back in the frame. Game to difficult to call but hopefully a cracker where the ref and that idiot Skeen do not come into play.

      • onlinesideline

        Totally forgot about Reece. Some big calls to me made. Who is in – between AAC, DHP, Reece and Jordan – who knows. I personally would can experience and go with who the biggest point scoring threats are. I would even gamble on Jordan for 20 minutes. If Cheika is conservative, its fasten seat belts, turn all devices off, place your tables up and seats upright.

        • Keith Butler

          Is the team announced today or Thursday?

        • onlinesideline

          no idea mate – Cheika is always late with this. Id say Thursday avo.

        • Human

          Or Saturday morning just before the Captain’s walk…just to keep the tension in the squad.

        • Human

          Cheika will wait until he has a chance to read Hoss’ G&GR selections…then do the opposite.

        • Keith Butler

          Correct. Prepare yourself for a Spanners in the works.

        • Greg

          Spanners will be interesting…. I think he will not be in the 23.

        • I think it’s Thursday.

        • Patrick

          It should be Hodge, he was actually having a great hit out against Fiji and England’s wingers aren’t more challenging than theirs.

        • Missing Link

          Hodge’s boot could play a key role against England

        • laurence king

          Agree, however Petaia can kick and when on the fly which I think Hodge doesn’t seem to do, from memory

        • Missing Link

          have seen Hodge kicking in general play, but it’s his freakish long range goal kicking that i’m referring to especially if it’s a tight game. England have Elliot Daly with similar range, if not shorter and don’t hesitate to use him when outside Farrell’s range.

        • laurence king

          Oh, there is that. He is pretty good at that. And nothing seems to faze the fellow either.

        • Brumby Runner

          Nic White can hoist a place kick almost as far as Hodgie. Will he be used if an opportunity presents. I fear not.

        • Patrick

          Let’s not underestimate the Tah Howitzer(TM)’s fantastic outside the 22 abilities

        • Patrick

          I don’t think this is the right match for Petaia to start in but I agree he is better then Hodge in general. A shame we don’t have any other actual wingers !

        • AllyOz

          I figure they will see DHP and Hodge as similar in some respects and Koroibete and Petaia as another pair. So it will be either or of them to start and then Hodge as the more experienced and offering more utility value (wing, fullback, outside, inside (sort of), long range kicking, line kicking). I have a feeling Beale will be back in the side even though I think that is hard to justify on the last few weeks.

      • Ads

        that’s the back row and back line i picked Keith. Hodge on the pine. I’m assuming Beale out due to concussion.

        • Keith Butler

          As they say great minds etc etc.

        • Ads

          or fools something something…
          Good luck for the game mate.

        • Keith Butler

          And you too. Being a dual citizen does have its benefits. Whatever the outcome I can both celebrate and commiserate. Best I get some more essential supplies in for Saturday evening.

        • laurence king

          Does that mean that you have to mix your drinks? Warm beer and cold?

        • Keith Butler

          Not by choice. Prefer cold but no ice on top. Getting a liking for Tassie craft beers. The wines, does without saying.

        • Greg

          Problem with Tassie wines is that they all taste like pinot noir – even the whites – and are #$$#@# expensive.

        • laurence king

          When we opened up our gallery we had a few boxes of reds and whites from a local winery ‘Craigie Knowe’ It was pretty good and at a decent price. I think we drank too much, the night’s a bit foggy

        • laurence king

          McHenry’s whiskey for me

        • Keith Butler

          I prefer Hellyer’s. More decent gins than you can poke a stick at.

        • Greg

          I think the poms need a bit of a slapping down to be honest. Just not sure that we will be the ones to do it.

      • laurence king

        That’s the backline that I picked as well Keith, must be something in the water down here. And picked that backrow.

        • Hoss

          You two would be neighbours wouldn’t you ?? How many people live in Tassie – 18-ish ??

        • laurence king

          He’s north coast, I’m east coast. Lots of retirees, average age in my area is about 95 -may be closer to 59, and I’m not helping to bring that number down.

        • Greg

          They are all cousins to me @HossRugby:disqus

        • laurence king

          There is a certain amount of truth to that.

        • Greg

          I wasn’t joking.

        • John Tynan

          So a 10 minute drive.

        • laurence king

          Cheeky bugger, 15 minutes at least. (Probably nearer to 3 hours

        • Keith Butler

          You are indeed a cheeky bugger. We have empty roads, rush hour in my town Launceston lasts about 15 mins. We have great wines and beers and scenery to die for. Best move we made moving here. What’s not to like.

        • laurence king

          Yes, I live in a white gum forest on Great Oyster Bay, fishing to die for and across from the Freycinet. difficult place to live

        • John Tynan

          No mention of weather in your spiel there, KB!!

        • Keith Butler

          Our bits not too bad. Sometimes cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey but not the 40 degree summer days that you mainlanders suffer.

        • From NooZealand

          And may you be commenting for a long time.

        • laurence king

          His first year was as a wing for the Reds and he was quite good. Didn’t make any mistakes either in his last two outings there, though I agree that seeing him in closer would be better. However, I like to see Kuridrani at 13 for this game. He is more likely to pass than Kerevi, he’s better in defence.

      • Jason

        Yeah, I’ve been thinking about it, and I expect Petaia will move to the bench for Hodge. Petaia could find himself starting at 13, yes it’s insane but Cheika’s made more insane decisions, and Petaia is clearly an out and out 13 and really isn’t suited to the 14 jersey.

        • laurence king

          His first year was as a wing for the Reds and he was quite good. Didn’t make any mistakes either in his last two outings there, though I agree that seeing him in closer would be better. However, I like to see Kuridrani at 13 for this game. He is more likely to pass than Kerevi, he’s better in defence. I think in the circumstances that would be a better fit

        • Jason

          I fucking called it!

          I think Petaia is a good option at 13. He didn’t fit in at 14 but played well at 11 when he got involved.

      • Well, swap out Hooper for Pocock and that’s 8 of my picks. I live a LONG way from Tassie.

    • Birdy

      ‘We wont win unless we get back to old aussie rugby where the main image of the day is Pommy fatties walking back under the post with their heads down.’

      Seeing as this century England have won 17/26 against Oz, you must be talking about really old aussie rugby.

      • onlinesideline

        errrr …. this site is not made for that level of intelligent response.
        Have a nice day.

        1984 Ella brothers anyone ——%$&6*() ????

        • Birdy

          Look, I’m a pom fast approaching a state of nervous collapse about Saturday – you’ve got nothing to fear about a torrent of intelligent responses.

        • onlinesideline

          From a footy point of view – I just hope its a really good match. We need these 2 sides to go toe to tow right to the 80th. The rugby supporters deserve it. The 2 sides need to live up to the rivalry / hype. I have a feeling its going to be an absolute belter won on the bell by someone. Whoever wins could go onto final at least.

        • Birdy

          One thing’s for sure – it won’t be for the faint-hearted. Whoever gets up will have earnt it.

        • Damo

          It doesn’t get any more Last Chance Saloon than this. Kitchen sink for 80+ minutes. If I see us counter rucked because not enough people were bothered to turn up to the breakdown my TV monitor will be at risk.

        • onlinesideline

          I know – theres just no excuses. Look at Japan. Enough said. At the end of the day its who wants it more.

        • Hoss

          LG have released the ‘Cheik screen’ as an accessory for their range of TV’s mate. Faeces slides right off (has a drip tray comes with), beer bottles bounce clean off, remote hitting it at full pelt doesn’t mark it and its impervious to bile – has saved me a bucket load of Johnny in replacing TV’s.

        • Ads

          don’t forget the build in recorder function that doesn’t allow you to watch games live, tapes the game for you, and deletes it before you watch it if it turgid like usual.

        • Keith Butler

          Tried Hardly Normal. They’ve already run out.

        • Damo

          Mate, my luck I’d kick the screen and then hear Skeen’s voice “M. Garces, we have possible foul play in a living room in Australia…”

        • Brisneyland Local

          I will hold off. One more match and I wont need one anymore.

        • Hoss

          Maaaate, that’s not the Cheika way, nor our ending. In a twist of the dagger we will play a brand of sublime rugby dared not dreamt of on these pages and smash the dodgers. We will then meet a battle scarred Ireland in SF1 and triumph with a MariKa special after the siren from our own 22 where he beats 18 Irish, their water boy and a clip board thrown by Schmitty for us to be beaten by 63 in the Final by the Brave Blossoms after he starts Foley at 10 and in a somewhat controversial move calls Hannigan in to the starting XV to replace an injured Arnold. RA sensing ‘the green-shoots of potential’ lock Cheika in till after RWC 2027 and give him powers of Vito in all selections. Now THATS the Cheika way

        • Greg

          Just saving this as a pdf to post after the blossoms get up!

        • invest in bubble wrap

        • laurence king

          If that happens and we have to go home, it won’t be so bad. And if we win, then we dare to dream.

        • Human

          Yes. Playing in the snow with heavy leather balls and did not drop a ball all game.

        • Hoss

          Why were their balls heavy ? Was it a medical condition / Didnt their loved ones travel with them ??

        • Human

          …and leather. What goes on on tour…etc.

        • Keith Butler

          Remember the tour well. They were a class apart from the mere mortals around them.

      • Missing Link

        hard to forget 1995, 2003 and 2007… 2015 was more memorable for us :)

    • Patrick

      I’m a fan of Thor but has Dempsey actually shown effective aggression in rucks and mauls (which is where we’ll need it?), or an ability to make yards against set defences? I’d rather Fardy or McMahon, but failing that, Dempsey does seem like our next best choice with Pocock and Naisarini, Hooper to come off the bench for Dempsey at 50 minutes with Thor.

      • John Tynan

        Dempsey has nice footwork into contact as one of his strengths, and i think he gets his nose through on a half break or extra metre where other blokes get smacked on the line (LSL for example)

        • Patrick

          Agree that Dempsey is better than LSL which is why I would pick him. But I’ve seen nothing yet to suggest he is better than McMahon or Fardy were (admittedly only McMahon plays the same role) and I haven’t seen a lot that was very impressive in tight. But I’ll be looking for it! (If I’m looking at all)

        • John Tynan

          All fair points, perhaps macmahon as a lineout option (giving away height to Dempsey) a differentiator as well.

      • Ads

        Hooper has played better than Pocock this world cup and will deservedly start. I have Pocock on the bench.

        • Brumby Runner

          Matter of opinion. I am with Patrick where I think it would be better to start Pocock because he is harder over the ball and hits more rucks than Hooper. He is also the leading tackler for the Aussies in the WC. LSL at No 6 will keep the linout strong while Isi Naisarani is still the best ball carrier in close.

          It is not just a matter of who has been playing better between Hooper and Pocock, but which backrow combination offers the most in a game against England.

        • Ads

          Fair enough. My opinion is our best balanced back row is Dempsey, Hooper, Isi. Hooper has been playing better than Pocock IMO. I’ve got Pocock and LSL on the bench. LSL to come on for whoever is playing poorer out of Rodda and Dempsey. Pocock for Isi with 20-30 to go to grind out the win with us holding a narrow lead early in the 2nd half.

        • Who?

          It’s interesting to see all the talk about Hooper playing better than Pocock.
          In previous years, we’d hear people talking down Hooper, saying he was a seagull, never in the ruck. Yet he regularly was amongst our top tacklers, if not the top tackler.
          This year, many are saying Pocock’s not in form. Yet he’s our top tackler, and that’s preventing him – along with the truly abominable refereeing of the breakdown, failing to require anyone to maintain their feet or enter through the gate – from being as visible in the breakdown.
          .
          At least we’re consistent – we don’t seem to rate those blokes who put in a heap of tackles! :-P
          .
          I don’t rate Dempsey. He’s done nothing this year. Pocock/Hooper/Naisarani for me.

        • Greg

          I don’t rate Dempsey

          So he is the top tackler then?

        • Who?

          I’d give him more credit if he were…
          He’s had a couple of good games in the past three years. That’s it.

        • Patrick

          It’s a tough call. I agree re Hooper, but this is a different game. I think well need Pocock’s breakdown work and tight tackles/hits more; and he’s better at those than Hooper.

          But it certainly isn’t as clear cut as not selecting Foley or as not starting Beale. Hooper’s been probably in his best ever form most of this year!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Go you OLSL. Love a good rant early in the morning

    • Missing Link

      we really need props that get the wood on England’s front row early. French refs love to penalise the scrum and if you can get the first few in your favour, they will keep coming all day. Go back to 2015 and Marler was singled out prior to the game for constantly driving in on an angle. Poite was brutal on England for this and it ended up giving us a platform for the win. England will want to win the scrum battle as they always do.

      • onlinesideline

        Agree mate – who are your props for the match ?

        • Custard Taht

          For Props, I’d go with the Golf Club and Rope……

          I went AAA Thor Slipper Sio .

        • Missing Link

          Same as CT, Kepu’s experienced but I feel has struggled.

          we need to match England’s forwards pound for pound. at least parity with their props, a lock to keep Itoje quiet and I think Pocock and Hooper in the back row with Naisirani’s height.

      • Keith Butler

        That was 2015. Things have got better since then. Not sure about Mako Vunipola’s scrum technique but he too has got better. Scrums are farcical anyway with both sides trying to milk pens.

        • Missing Link

          Agreed, Marler has changed his technique or lack thereof and I believe Vunipola was injured in 2015? Sinckler is also in the mix

          all the more reason to get the wood on England at scrum time, if we don’t, we’ll get blown off the park

    • Seb V

      JOC can slice anything open? I can’t recall a line-break from him all season. I think you’re thinking the JOC from 5 years ago. He is there as an extra ball-player, his running game is way off in my view.

      • joy

        WRC stats shows he has 2.

        • Seb V

          Nothing to rave about, especially when comparing to the other options such as Kuridrani. JOC isn’t a running threat, but he’s a good distributor.

        • While I agree that’s nothing to rave about, I think some of that is team situational. If you’re playing between Kerevi and Koroibete your role is not to make line breaks – they’re doing that all day. Your role is to distribute, possibly kick, structure the play and so on.

          If you look at the likely England team, they’ll have Farrell and Tuilangi – a play maker and a line breaker. They’re in the other shirts to Kerevi and JOC but they have different roles and styles of play.

          I agree OLSL’s description was more poetic than factual, but I think he helps unpick the defensive lines.

    • laurence king

      Wonderful stuff mate, love it. Right selections, clean out the ruck efficiently, play more in their territory and up for the whole game. I think Cheika will be able to get the boys up for this one.

    • Jason

      Have you watched any of Dempsey this tournament? He’s been pretty rubbish. Cheika probably should with Isi and LSL (I’d like to see him bring Hooper off the bench but it’ll never happen), but it’s Cheika so fuck he’s probably going to start Dempsey… LSL with Pooper is probably our best back row at the moment, Isi hasn’t really shown anything to justify selection and LSL has been good (not outstanding but good).

      I think the starting front row should stay as it is, Tupou needs to be on the bench with Slipps and Fianga. It boggles the mind that Cheika keeps plucking Jordan Uelese out of the blue, he’s not been bad but do you really want to be sending on a kid who’s played less than 4 hours of rugby this year in the 10th minuet because Latu has gone off with a red card (and that’s equally likely to happen as not!). If Uelsle is/was your man then Cheika needed to start him against the likes of Fiji, Uruguy and Georgia.

      I actually think Hodge at 13 is probably a good option, with Koro and Jrodie on the wings and DHP at 15. Then Toomua, Beale (or JO’C) on the bench. I feel like O’Connor hasn’t been exploited too much but he might be vulnerable in defence at 13. Fuck Cheika might go fully insane and start Jordie at 13 (where he should probably be playing) and that could work really well, he’s obviously an out and out 13.

      I don’t think you can carry AAC in the 23, too many quality players ahead of him. You’d think Jordie should be somewhere in there, Hodge, Beale, DHP, Toomua, O’Connor should all be ahead of him even Kurandrani (and fuck he’s worth a go to start at 13 outside Kerevi).

      • UTG

        Well, the good news is Latu has conceded one penalty all World Cup so the chances of him being red carded don’t seem that high.

        • Moz

          You had to go and write that……

        • Who?

          I guess the good thing is he’s short enough that a high tackle penalty’s less likely. :-P

        • Brumby Runner

          Except that it might increase the chances of being in his favour.

        • Who?

          I meant that he’d end up seeing cheese. They haven’t bothered carding players for many other reasons so far this RWC. Or even just penalizing them for anything else.

        • UTG

          The repeated infringements sin binning has been complete rubbish. They’re allowing 4 or 5 penalties in the red zone and not bringing out a yellow for obvious professional fouls that kill attack.

        • Brumby Runner

          Understand that. I was suggesting that due to his shortness of height, it might turn out that there are high tackles made on him by the Poms.

        • Jason

          Yeah, but regression to the mean would suggest he’s due a red card soon! haha

  • Brendan Hume

    I’ve not been a big Hooper fan as captain (still am not really), or as a player prior to this year, however his footy this year has been very impressive. He seems so much more at the coalface now – perhaps its because Pocock was out for so long and the Wallabies wanted/needed a 7 that was going to be harder on the ball, but Hooper now plays like a genuine 7. I hope he has a fucking cracking game. If he’s putting in the time on the other stuff as Moore suggests in the column, all the better.
    If he can get the Wallabies this RWC, he’s worth every bit of his $6M deal.

  • theduke

    Tupou has to be on the bench. He brings so much to the final 30. I’m just hoping Cheik has been hiding him as a surprise (one can dream…)

  • Hoss

    Hello Shaggers,

    Thought I’d post this early to give us something to contemplate and for our OS viewers who log in at ungodly times whilst we rest.

    Will post again in Thursdays thread

    Your votes are in – based on 70 votes, here is the GAGR Wallaby XXIII

    Starting XV

    1. Allan Alaalatoa 60 (85.70%)
    2 Tolu LAtu 60 (85.70%)
    3. Scott Sio 55 (78.60%)
    4. Rory Arnold 64* (91.40) – highest vote for any starting forward – honourable mention to Rodda
    5. Izack Rodda 63 (90%)
    6. David Pocock 41 (58.60%)
    7. Michael Hooper 50 (71.40%)
    8. Isi Naisarani 60 (85.70%)
    9. Nic White 59 (84.30%)
    10. Christian Lealiifano 60 (85.70%)
    11. Marika Koroibete 67 (95.70) – highest vote for back AND starting player overall
    12. Samu Kerevi 46 (65.70%)
    13. James O’Connor 47 (67.10%)
    14. Jordan Petaia 54 (77.10%)
    15 Dane Haylett-Petty 63 (90%)

    Finishers

    16. Jordan Uelese 32 (45.70%)
    17. James Slipper 46 (65.70%)
    18. Taniela Tupou 55 (78.60%)
    19. Adam Coleman 42 (60%)
    20. Lukan Salakaia-Loto 24 (34.30%)
    21. Will Genia 55 (78.60%)
    22. Matt To’omua 39 (55.70%)
    23. Kurtley Beale 25 (35.70%)

    There it is folks – some points of interest
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ed99c186fd629b13ba873ab83debf3ffe8b07466ad3f2fb2283368e602c0781c.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/13ba70c148e6b32a1056d3952dbdd8632706c0d6b81835bd84d42ac9f6412436.jpg
    – No love for Reece Hodge in the XXIII (although he was only 3 votes behind Gilbert for the #23 Jersey)
    – Petaia is highly regarded by the GAGR faithful and starts on the right flank.
    – Same for Jack Dempsey – polled OK in starting XV vote – ranked #9 in your forward votes, but it didn’t translate to a spot on the bench with FKA getting the gig 24 (34.30%) to 18 (25.70%)
    – Spanners career in gold looks over at 1 vote to start and 1 for the pine – that voter had the ID ‘Bernies Mum’ so…..
    – No room for AAC

    Look forward to the debate and let’s see how good we are.

    As Gough Whitlam famously said……’long may the Poms sing ‘God Save the Queen’ for nothing will save them from our Wallabies’

    C’mon Gold – do us proud.

    • Keith Butler

      Spanners must be a certainty to start then.

      • Hoss

        It’s a lock.

        • Keith Butler

          Too small but does explain a lot of things. Kicking and passing weren’t in my skill set either.

    • I’m ok with those backs, I really don’t like the Pooper against England… I think we’d better with Dempsey and on those votes Pocock on the bench (although personally I think we’d be better with Hooper on the bench).

      I’m suspecting there will be quite a large number of differences with the team that is announced.

      • Hoss

        God I hope not, but the only certainty under Segall is that there is no certainty.

  • GeorgiaSatellite

    Been watching QF2011 Vs Saffers for inspiration. Those saying Pocock hasn’t played well this tournament may be forgetting that he’s mostly not playing his usual position. Like OLSL said, we need him to start at 7 for this match.

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@NathW1997

Loved rugby since the day I could remember, got the nickname Footy to show that, I watch Matt Dunning's dropkick every night before going to bed

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