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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News sees Hooper’s fighting words, Marler charged, Tim Walsh stresses no need for new players, and more Six Nations games affected by Coronavirus.

 


Hooper’s fighting words

Michael Hooper busting through

Michael Hooper busting through

Former Waratahs captain Michael Hooper says the Tahs season is not over and they will take inspiration for the Chiefs resurgence last year. 

Despite losing the first five matches of the season, the Chiefs still managed to make finals footy. However, many are putting a line through the Tahs after their 51-14 humiliation in Wollongong on Friday.

But Hooper has come out swinging.

“It’s not dead in the water,” Hooper said.

“Five games into an 18-round season The Chiefs went 0-5 last year and made finals.

“So while we’ve made it very hard for ourselves, or harder, after dropping particularly the first three games, we’ve still got a lot to play for,” Hooper said.

This weekend doesn’t get any easier for the Tahs as they travel to Canberra to face the Aussie conference leaders, the Brumbies, on Sunday afternoon.


English prop Joe Marler charged

Photo by Keith McInnes

Photo by Keith McInnes

English prop Joe Marler is facing up to 24 weeks on the sideline, after being charged for grabbing Welsh captain Alun Wyn Jones by the testicles in England’s 33-30 victory over the weekend.

A Six Nations statement confirming Marler’s citing read: “The England number one Joe Marler has been cited for an alleged infringement of law 9.27 (a player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship – hair pulling or grabbing; spitting at anyone; grabbing, twisting or squeezing the genitals.”

Alun Wyn Jones said after the match he hopes rugby chiefs take action.

“Joe is a good bloke and lots happens on a rugby field. After 138 Tests, I know if I react it’s a red card,” Jones said.

Marler’s hearing will occur on Thursday, along with fellow Englishmen Courtney Laws who was cited for a dangerous tackle, and Manu Tuilangi who was red-carded in the game against Wales.


Tim Walsh stresses no need for new players

Tim Walsh during Aussie Women training session

Tim Walsh during Aussie Women training session

Aussie men’s Sevens coach Tim Walsh doesn’t expect to see any new faces come into the mix for the Tokyo Olympics, with just two tournaments left before the major event.

Initially, Sean McMahon, Luke Morahan, and Jack Maddocks were in line to feature in the Hong Kong and Singapore tournaments, however, both events have been postponed.

Walsh praised McMahon but the side will plan without him.

“Sean would be very good, he’s got a ruthlessness and a power running competitiveness that is valued and the experience he has,” Walsh said.

“There’s all different stuff going on with the coronavirus in Japan and all that so not sure what’s going to happen there.

“we’ll plan without him and then if it eventuates then we’ll get him in, see how he can go, push forward for his selection,” Walsh said.

The coming London and Paris legs are now the final competitive chance for XVs players to push their cases.

Walsh said it isn’t a deal breaker if the ex-Sevens pair did not play due to a nine-week Olympic preparation block.

“It’d be nice to (have them in London and Paris),” he said.

“I’d still probably leave the door open and see how we go because there is a nine-week campaign to the Olympics post-London and both of them have a vast experience in Sevens but it’d make it a lot tougher for them to actually push and take anyone’s spot that’s on a squad now,” Walsh said.


Six Nations games affected by Coronavirus

Credit: Getty Images

Credit: Getty Images

The France vs Ireland game has been postponed due to the threat of coronavirus, leaving Wales vs Scotland as the only match in the final round of the SIx nations to go ahead as scheduled.

The match was to be played in Paris on Saturday but it will now not go ahead on advice from the French Government. There is no indication for a new date for the game.

The postponement of the French vs Ireland and England vs Italy games means no SIx Nations champion will be crowned this weekend.

Typically the final weekend of the Six Nations is one of the great spectacles in rugby with all three matches going back-to-back to find a winner, however, we won’t get that excitement this weekend.

There have been suggestions that the final two matches will be postponed until October.


  • Mortahs Incoming – custardtaht

    Sorry Hooper….the tahs season is over, it was
    over before it stahted.

    If Marler is handed the minimum ban of 12 weeks for that, the system is broken. Players have received lesser and even no bans for eye gauges, shoulder chargers, dangerous tackles and generally attacking the head…..granted those examples relate to All Black players.

    • Patrick

      Agree, Hooper forgets that the Chiefs actually had a forward pack

    • Keith Butler

      Could not agree more. I think the laws say ‘pull, twist and grab’. From all videos I’ve seen it looked no more than a pinch at worst. A bit stupid yes but we’ve all seen or received far worse. I expect he’ll get at least a 12 week minimum in view of previous ‘Gypsy Boy’ comment a few years back. It would be great to see AWJ put in a good word.

      • Graeme

        AWJ should probably give him a 50 as well as a good word for the service.

        • Nutta

          With Brother Ted it was a Mars Bar and a Coke (I did 6yrs in a Christian Bros school so I can say that…)

        • I can “like” it, cos I didnt

      • Yowie

        If the season-ending ban is a foregone conclusion, Noting his Twitter form, I wonder if Marler will try to shoehorn as many puns as possible into his in-tribunal submissions or “steeps of court” media statements.

        Eg. “I’ve felt a right bollock in the last few days….but that’s the rub of the green.”

        • Sure he could compile a list just from here

        • Yowie

          True. he would already be a fan of GAGR after the “scrum straight Joe” thing worked out so well for him.

      • Who?

        It’s interesting to see AWJ’s quote.
        “After 138 Tests, I know if I react it’s a red card.”
        Umm, he did react. He stepped back and looked around for officials who might’ve seen what happened. I don’t think 138 Tests matter.
        But it’s relevant he described Joe as ‘a good bloke’ – in spite of the passion that comes out in England/Wales games, especially around Joe.

        • 10 years ago, and even now in training, AWJ had/has a reputation for standing up and punching people. That’s what he meant by reacting.

        • Who?

          If that’s what he meant, then maybe he meant RC for himself… Because I know I’ve often thought he behaves like a pork chop. I’m not usually a big fan of AWJ, though I thought he dealt well with the situation on the field, and he’s done ok off it.

      • laurence king

        It was an interesting response by the Welsh player. If there had been any pain inflicted I’m sure there would have been a more aggressive reaction. But, totally nonplussed, knowing he should be outraged, fiddled with in front of 50000 onlookers. Marler clearly stole the scene.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Ouch. And the conspiracy continues.
      I agree on hoping Marler gets a light punishment if any, I think he actually helped the situation calm down and it was definitely not a grip twist or anything, more of a rub to take the focus off being angry

    • Wonky Donkey

      I believe the impact of joes actions could see kids doing it on the field to others probably also as a joke

      • Yowie

        Back in my day (90s), every schoolboy’s rampant paranoid homophobia would have prevented that sort of thing. Not sure what the vibe is now in these more open-minded times.

    • The trouble is, the starting point is 12 weeks. Often players get less than the starting point for a first offence and pleading guilty early.

      Marler has a fairly poor history, which is raising the starting point and while he might plead guilty, he’s very publicly tried to laugh it off as a joke after he was cited which generally doesn’t go down well with the judiciary.

      It’s actually at the same starting as lot of other dangerous offences, like eye gouges and the like. Which I’m not sure is right – but I don’t have the same dangly bits to worry about and you guys out there seem to be very protective of them!

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Hamish, not sure after all the crap I’ve heard from Hooper over the years he has any credibility with anything he says. I guess at least he’s not saying the boys are training well. TBF he’s correct but I think it’ll take a bigger turn around than what the Tahs have demonstrated they are capable of so far this year, or last year, or the year before that………
    I, like most here I think, hope Marler gets a light punishment. I dont think there was any malice in what he did and like Nutta I think it was a big calm the fuck down guys moment that actually worked. No doubt the PC crowd will go bananas over this but I’m hoping common sense prevails.
    I think Walsh is starting to show some real progress with the 7’s and I wonder if bringing in newbies at this stage of the plan would actually be beneficial. I know NZ has done it in the past and it’s never really been as successful as planned. I think it’s a combination of learning the drills and an unconscious level of resentment from those that have got them there have been part of the problem.

    • Dud Roodt

      You really have it in for poor old Hoops KARL.
      The alternative would be to say “yeah… good point [insert journo’s name], you’re probably right. Season’s cactus. Supporter(s) don’t bother coming out any more.”
      But I don’t think his employer or the competitor in him would have liked that very much.

      • Yowie
        • Dud Roodt

          ha classic

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Mate that’s gold

      • Ads

        Agree. “Player spouts meaningless platitudes” is hardly news worthy. Hooper has been playing well and will deservedly be in the Wallabies. I read a more complete interview that maybe these quotes were taken from on Fux. He was quite honest saying they had failed at the breakdown etc and needed to focus on that. I really don’t know what more he can say.

        • Dud Roodt

          I think people expect him (and him alone) to have to be 100% honest about how shit he, his team and rugby in general is or he’s a bullshit company man.

          He’s honest when the wallabies have lost and he’s fronted up to an interview without being a fucking emo about it all and he gets mauled for it.

        • Who?

          Poor old Hoops… He really has suffered from his associations over the years. Started with him defending a team mate over his coach (Beale, 2014), and talking whilst in a Gold jersey about how keen he was to get back to the Tahs, as it was a special group (implying the Wallabies wasn’t a pleasant place to be). Then he had to sit next to Cheik for so long. And he was coached by Cheika, whose coaching style was long questioned. And by Gibson, who had one good season but is widely panned (especially by Tahs fans, the Tahs having hired Gibson after the least successful Crusaders coach of the past 2 decades sacked Gibson).
          .
          No question he gives his best, all the time. No question he is an incredible athlete, trainer. And I believe he’s incredibly improved in front of the press. He started out with crazy eyes, intensity, fear and uncertainty, coming across terribly and not at all relatable. He’s now much more relaxed, so the crazy eyes have gone, he can take and make a joke, and comes across as a real person you might enjoy chatting with.
          The problem is the legacy of the past. The bad media events. The times sitting alongside Cheika. The terrible selections that saw us with unbalanced teams that then saw Hooper blamed, because he didn’t meet our traditional KPI’s for a 7, and those KPI’s weren’t fully addressed by the selections at 6 and 8 (because those position’s KPI’s weren’t met – people still talk about needing an 8 to replace Kefu).
          Without the legacy of (particularly) 2015-2018, people would, I think, have a lot more tolerance for Hooper. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing.

        • !!

        • Dud Roodt

          So essentially Hooper is looked upon unfavourably because he backed a team mate, spoke positively about his club team (any assigned implication doesn’t make it fact) and was made captain?

          Jesus. Imagine if he’d actually done something to earn legitimate ire!

        • Who?

          I think so. Because, even though many (certainly myself included) have questioned his captaincy (I thought he did a decent job at the last RWC, but it took him time to grow into the role – understandably), and selection (which is based on our expectations of a 7’s KPI’s, and the balance of the back row around him – not his fault, but not unfair, either), I don’t think anyone really thinks he doesn’t do anything other than give everything he’s got both on the field and off the field.
          .
          In terms of backing a team mate and his club, it was the beginning of his first captaincy, it showed division in the team that was far worse than the already excluded Cooper’s ‘toxic’ comments two years earlier (Cooper wasn’t captain backing a team mate against his coach, and Robbie wasn’t forced out of his job by player power), it wasn’t an auspicious start. If he’d improved after Cheika was coach, it wouldn’t have been near as big an issue. It would’ve been written off as an inexperienced bloke who made a mistake in the press. But he didn’t improve, he was petulant with referees and was terrible in the press. So that period ended up being kind of like the pebble in your shoe that irritates you. It’s a starting point that was followed by pouring more and more sand into those shoes, which eventually rubs your feet raw. Which is what happened when Hooper became the poster boy and captain of the Cheika era, which is the worst period for the Wallabies in my lifetime.
          .
          But I think you’re making a bigger deal out of it than needs be. That you’re showing the same lack of understanding that others are showing. For those who’ve always been fans, they may not understand any of the frustration people have or had. For those who haven’t been fans in a long time, given Hooper is effectively the poster boy for the entire Cheika era, he’s carrying a lot of negative baggage, and it’s not always easy to dissociate the person from the impression, or even current performance from past performance. Cheika’s a perfect example of that – he was always one to pick based on what he’d experienced of a person. They might’ve been 2 years past it and 5 years off their peak, but he’d still pick them. They may have grown massively as a player in the past 2 years, but he’d still look at them as if they were a punk kid making mistakes.
          .
          Hooper deserves a fair go. No question. He’s really stepped up as a leader over the past couple of years (again, he was quite good at the 2019 RWC, both with refs and in the press), he carries himself very well these days, as you’d hope senior Wallaby would do. But humans, fans, have hysteresis, inertia. It’s one thing to see that perceptions may not be accurate against current performance/reality, but it’s easier to convince people of that when you can acknowledge previous flaws and when you can question viewpoints, rather than telling people they’re wrong. It’s not the best way to win an argument.

        • Dud Roodt

          I’m not making a big deal of it (or that’s not my intention anyway) – just noticing a trend over the years from a certain group of people on here.
          I think even KARL would agree he would struggle to compliment Hooper even when he does some pretty incredible stuff.
          I bring it up because I don’t think I’ve ever really had a problem with a player that would blind me to their positives. I’ve certainly not liked certain players based on performance but taking anything about what they do or say personally seems weird to me.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Actually I hope I’m not that stubborn. I have seen Hooper play well at times and I love the passion and enthusiasm he brings as well as his obviously big heart and lungs where he really does work hard. I just don’t think he’s that effective. I watched Cruden shift him off a ruck against the Chiefs and a 7 should never be shifted by a 10, not ever. That’s the things that frustrate me

        • Dud Roodt

          Fair call mate.
          I actually saw that too and cringed a bit.

        • John Tynan

          So Gibson = Larkham?
          Larkham sacked by least successful Wallabies coach of past 2 decades.

        • Who?

          We’ll see… I guess the difference there is that Gibson hadn’t really proven himself in any other way before being signed by Cheika, whereas Larkham had been an assistant under Smit, had been a co-coach with Lord Laurie.
          .
          I hope Larkham’s not Gibson, I guess the positive is that he’s looked to develop himself, and had successes away from where he was sacked. Whereas Gibson was sacked from the Crusaders, went to the Tahs where he wasn’t really heavily assessed (many Tahs fans seemed unhappy in 16/17, and then obviously in 19, with one positive season in 18)…

        • John Tynan

          Just stirring the pot, I don’t really believe it. :)

        • Who?

          A pot worth stirring, John. It’s a challenging thought – Larkham’s got some runs on the board (time under Jake, some of his record coaching at the Brumbies, the 2017 Wallaby season in spite of Cheika’s meddling with selections), but he’s hardly the finished article. Hopefully he’s aware of that.
          .
          If we don’t challenge ourselves, and just assume we’ve got it right, that we’re on track, it’s easy to miss the target. Critical thinking and challenging ideas is always a good thing. :-)

        • Brumby Runner

          Yeah, I blame Cheika.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Yeah I have a bit. Mind you he’s set himself up for it over the years. He frustrates me. Plays well at times, heaps of energy and enthusiasm but never really developed his game and is quite ineffective at times and goes missing. I actually think he could have been very good if he’d just worked on continuing to develop his game more

        • Dud Roodt

          I respectfully disagree. I don’t think there are many people who work harder on themselves or their game. From all reports he is up there with some of the most professional athletes in any sport in this country.
          From what I have heard (from Daryl Gibson) by the time their official training starts, Hooper has already done extras in the form of cardio, he was always first in the gym, last to leave. Once their requirement for being at the facility was over he then did hours every day of extra training (weights, cardio) and rehab (incl. Pilates and yoga).
          it was explained to me by Gibson that he sets the professional standard at the club.
          I think given his longevity (with only one injury that I can remember coming in the Ireland series), the number of caps he has at his age (and those caps cross over 3 coaches) – not to mention SR caps show he’s clearly one of the best players in the world.
          He regularly appears in lists of the 50 best players in the world (for what they’re worth – but they are usually based on punter’s votes).
          He gets an incredibly bad wrap here from people for reasons that aren’t always clearly defined. He certainly gets criticised for things he’s said and yet every after match interview I find him incredibly thoughtful in his responses and he always seems to listen to the interviewer.
          He might not be everyone’s perfect #7 – but why blame him when you should blame the coaches who continually pick him year after year.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          I’m not questioning his work ethic and I agree 100% with that. I just don’t think he’s taken his game to where it could be on the actual field in contact.

        • Frosty morning

          As trite as it sounds I think he’d be a lot more popular if he pulled his socks up and cut his hair. Call me old fashioned but players with their socks down still gives me the shits…. and what’s with half the Brumbies wearing short socks???

        • Steve

          I do Frosty. This is the most old-fashioned comment I’ve read in a long time!!

          I still remember my Dad used to watch me play games and the only thing he would ever yell would be “Pull your socks up!!”

    • Frosty morning

      If Hooper was talking about the Reds I’d be a lot more inclined to agree. But I think the Tahs can safely book their end of season trip for the first week of the finals.

    • John Tynan

      The Police Constabulary crowd?

  • Yowie

    Marler’s hearing will occur on Thursday, along with fellow Englishmen Courtney Laws who was cited for a dangerous tackle, and Manu Tuilangi who was red-carded in the game against Wales.

    “Ok, but apart from Marler, Laws & Tuilangi, what dirty play have the English ever done to us?”

    • Funk

      The OwenFarell?

      • Yowie

        Well, yeah. Obviously the OwenFarell. I mean, the OwenFarell goes without saying, doesn’t he? But apart from the Marler, the Laws, the Tuilangi and the OwenFarell-

    • Keith Butler

      Of course the words ‘dangerous tackle’ now takes on a new meaning.

      • Nutta

        Whose dangerous tackle? Mine or yours? Or Joe’s?

      • Keith Butler

        I think it was Courtney. Renowned for his tackle. Only dangerous when a bit late. Shit – should have been to Nutta. Old age creeping up.

      • John Tynan

        Heard of a “high swinging tackle” but “low swinging tackle”?

        • Geoffro

          Isn’t that what jockstraps were invented for-completely avoidable,maybe that’s what Joe was pointing out

    • HK Red

      The whole team were at it, it had all the hallmarks of an Eddie Jones ambush. Push Push Push Push until such time as O’Keefe actually makes a decision, which he finally did (had no choice) in the 73rd minute ( I think). Right from early on, Farrell was being a total goose, trying to get someone to punch him.

  • Andrew Luscombe

    Re Marler.

    Law 9.27 says the following and nothing more “A player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship.”

    The additional bit partly quoted by rugby.com.au “Grab, twist, squeeze or strike an opponent in the genital area (male or female) or, in the case of female players, the breast area – likely zero tolerance unless contact clearly accidental” is one section of the guidelines for dealing with various acts against the spirit of good sportsmanship. If Marler contests, he’d likely argue that he was not acting against the spirit of good sportsmanship at all, but in fact exemplifying good sportsmanship by having a joke in a tense situation, and so classifying what type of unsportsmanly behaviour it was is of no relevance.

    I can see why some people don’t want players touching other players genitals, it could lead to all sorts of copying by kids verging on sexual assault, but the laws don’t properly cover Marler’s sense of humour.

    The NRL had a similar thing occur a few years ago, and they issued a warning:
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/league/68466606/newcastle-knights-prop-korbin-sims-will-receive-a-warning-letter-from-the-nrl-after-grabbing-willie-masons-genitals

    • Geoffro

      It’s all well and good as far as no malice was intended but be that as it may , in many countries you can get arrested for a public display of similar which may be determined lewd behaviour.I expect he’ll cop some sort of sanction

  • Hoss

    Good morrow marauders of mirth,

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry today, so instead, i vent.

    Lee Majors – appreciate the positive /can do’ attitude and yes, technically the Tah’s can make the finals. Technically Mr Elvis Aaron Presley is still alive and near completion of his latest, 42 years in the making, comeback album special. I know which of these two events more likely, so i have placed my pre-order with iTunes now.

    The stock market. These denizens of doom, financial fuckwits, lemmings in suit & tie. They couldn’t see the GFC coming, but now we should trust them regarding their ‘forecasts’ for the Beer Flu – in short

    – Trump says i will find more money (no evidence of same) stocks rise
    – Trump stays silent stocks fall – (no evidence he wont find funds)
    – ASX collapses worried that Scotty from marketing ‘might not’ deliver appropriate stimulus package (i say again ‘might’) – bugger waiting 24 hours for the actual package though !!
    – The economic and proven financial powerhouse that is Italy (ranks slightly above Greece for full blown basket case status) finally acts on the Beer Flu and its end of days…….

    The really comforting thought is these well paid lemmings are in charge of our retirement funds – sleep easy Australia.

    Sausage Fingers Marler facing 24 weeks ?? Yet head high’s, neck rolls, late hits, shoulder charges – a few weeks should be fine…..no worries Joe, shit goes down, i will underwrite you for ‘Happy Joe’s, Therapeutic Stress Relief Clinics – Where, like Disney – happy endings guaranteed’ – i have any number of stockbrokers prepared to punt billions……………sigh.

    • GeorgiaSatellite

      Contact to the head? Only AWJ can answer that.

      • Geoffro

        Eeeeewwwww

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