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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News looks at the Wallabies changing up their processes, Will Genia’s big idea to revamp rucks, potential Wallaby changes and the son of a Wallabies legend signs with the Reds


Avoiding insanity

Reece Hodge  chips for Tom Wright's try

Reece Hodge  chips for Tom Wright’s try

A wise man once said insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

After their second disappointing draw in five games, the Wallabies are looking to revamp their preparations and processes as they look to avoid a similar result on December 5.

Following their 15-all draw to Argentina, assistant coach Scott Wisemantel has conceded that they were a ‘little naïve’ with their tactics towards the back-end of the game, allowing the Pumas to come back and steal a draw.

“They were dead, with 20 minutes to go, they were gone, but we opened the door up,” Wisemantel told reporters on Tuesday.

“We were tactically a little naïve, lacked discipline – so it’s the one that got away.”

Looking to ensure that it doesn’t happen again, Rennie and co have looked to mix up their preparations ahead of their final match of the Tri-Nations on December 5.

The side has moved away from its Hunter Valley base, moving towards their usual Sydney hub in Coogee.

Along with this, their review process has undergone a major overhaul, with players allocated 20-minute footage of the game to analyse and break-down in four separate groups.

Wisemantel was hopeful that this could provide the necessary ‘nuggets’ that could turn around their fortunes and keep their hopes of a Tri-Nations title alive.

“We broke the game down into four 20-minute quarters and throughout the whole squad, they were divided into four groups and each were given a portion,” he explained.

“They then had to review what was good and what was poor and how we can manage it. It was a long process but at the end of it, I think we ended up with tactical growth which is what we want.

“In those smaller groups everyone gets a voice and from that you get little nuggets of gold.”

Genia’s big idea

Will Genia

Will Genia

Former Wallabies halfback Will Genia has called for an overhaul to the ruck in order to speed up the game.

Genia’s main gripe comes with the ‘caterpillar rucks’ that have emerged, in which teams go full human centipede to try and give the halfback more space to box kick.

Too often, halfbacks go through their options, shopping lists, their post-match plans and which player they can niggle/antagonise at the next scrum before the referee tells them to play the ball.

This would dramatically change under Genia’s law (AKA the actual rule book), which would essentially see the referees enforce the rule that gives scrumhalf’s five seconds to use the ball.

“Isn’t the rule that once the ball is available, the scrumhalf has five seconds to use it?” Genia told The Herald.

“The referee just has to enforce that. Use it or lose it.

“Once the ball is at the back of the ruck and they’re preparing to box kick, the ref will often say use it and he will give them another five, six, sometimes 10 seconds to use it. In that time, that’s when the teams set up the caterpillar ruck.

“That’s the way to eradicate it. Just enforce the law.

“After five seconds, I think it should just be play on. The ball’s out. (The defending team) can put pressure on the ball, you can run in and grab the ball if you like.”

He believes this would encourage the ball the remain in play as players are forced to make decisions under pressure.

“With the way things are at the moment with the caterpillar ruck – the ball is at the back for 15, sometimes 20 seconds because they want to organise the box kick, elongate the ruck and get the chasers in place,” Genia added.

“If you just eradicate it and make teams use the ball in five seconds, the ball is in play for longer. It forces players to use skill and make decisions under pressure, as opposed to completely taking their time.”

Major changes inbound

Water Boy James O'Connor

Water Boy James O’Connor

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie hasn’t been afraid to mix up his side throughout the Tri-Nations, with the new coach set to make major changes for next weekend’s clash against the Pumas

With the side enjoying a week off, Rennie has already culled the squad, with Suliasi Vunivalu, Isi Naisarani, Jermaine Ainsley and Cadeyrn Neville sent home from the final two weeks of camp.

Anisley is set to head straight to New Zealand after signing a deal with the Highlanders for 2021.

One change that looks set to happen is at flyhalf, with James O’Connor set to be cleared to return after an injured foot.

“He’s good…James is going well,” assistant coach Scott Wisemantel said.

“He has been terrific for the team and the coaching staff with his feedback, his thoughts. He’s definitely matured.

“We’re hopeful. I can’t give you a definite yes or no at the moment but he has started rehab running, he’s back on the park and we’re hopeful.”

Another change that we could see is at the blindside flanker position, as Rennie looks the lock down his future no. 6.

With front-runner Lachie Swinton still suspended, Rennie has continued to swap and change, last using Ned Hanigan who got a less than ideal write-up from fans after his performance on Saturday.

This could see the likes of Liam Wright thrust into the starting line-up, with Pete Samu still on the outer for some strange reason.

Along with this, Rennie is apparently weighing up whether to recall Tate McDermott to the line-up, with the Reds halfback arguably the best running half in the squad.

Like father, like son

Hamish Stewart embraced post try Reds v Rebels 2020 Super Rugby (CREDIT: Brendan Hertel/QRU)

The Reds are set to receive a major boost after securing the signature of Tom Lynagh – the son of former World Cup-winning Wallaby, Michael.

The 17-year-old has been based in England, making his name for Harlequins and in the England Academy, finishing his schooling at Epson College before heading to Queensland in the middle of next year.

The youngest Lynagh was looking forward to linking up with Brad Thorn and the rest of the Reds squad, eager to continue his development in his home state until at least the end of the 2023 season.

“I am very excited about joining the Reds next year,” Tom Lynagh said.

“I have been watching the team develop over the past few seasons form here in the UK. There are some really exciting young players playing a good style of rugby.”

According to The Australian, the deal came after the legendary Wallaby nagged advised his son to send a highlights package to Australian clubs, which immediately got the attention of Reds GM Sam Cordingley.

“We were pretty keen to move on it,” Cordingley said. “You need as many good No.10s in your program as possible.

“We had done some background on him and knew he was a fair player. The [highlights] package that was there was just a part of the [due] diligence we did around him.

“We have Australian coaches in the current system that have some experience over there in England that knew Tom and we were pretty keen to progress.”

He follows a drastically different pathway to his brother Louis, who has denounced his Australian heritage as he looks to play for Aussie Eddie and the English.

  • Huw Tindall

    Guess we’ve got to roll the dice in the final game, pending the result this weekend, if we’re a chance to get some TRC silverware. Central to that is scoring points and having JOC back should help with that. Big fan of what Hodge brought but there wasn’t enough on field leadership around him to help direct traffic properly and capitalise on opportunities. Maybe Hodge at 15 as he’s almost too handy to leave out of the team???? Tate on the bench should also help to open things up as the game goes on. Gordon was a conservative pick and probably the right call for the last game as we just needed to win…now we need to win big a guy like Tate comes into the reckoning. No easy answers at 6. Wright should start or be out of the 23. He isn’t an impact player. Valetini has done OK but not been blown away by his contribution on the bench. Ned is good bench cover. Jeese it’d be nice to have LSL and Swinton avaialble. Getting ahead of ourselves here. Let’s see what this weekend’s game throws up first.

    Also, this Tom Lynagh kid looks like a Bernie Larkham in his highlights video. Such elusive running for a relatively small statured bloke. Hope he does well in the Queensland system.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      I’d have Hodge at 15. While he has a lot of experience in other positions I don’t actually think he’s that good at any of them. I think that not only are there others who are better for every position, I think there are players who are better in their secondary position as well

      • Mike D

        I’d have Hodge as bench cover if we have JOC at 10. I like his kicking but I think his game would improve by seeing how JOC runs the back line, now he’s had a couple of games there. Comes on at the 60 minute mark for some long range penalty goals.
        I like Banks at FB. And the rest of the back line is pretty good.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          I do t think Hodge is good enough to play anywhere but 15 very well, so if he’s not that then he’s not in my 23

        • Who?

          Hodge at 13. Petaia to the bench. We retain Paisami at 12 (think he’s earned it!), and Hodge gets to spend time out there working with both JOC and Paisami.
          Banks, for all the ambivalent reviews of his performances, has been more solid than Petaia.

        • UTG

          Petaia would be the walkup starter at 13 for any of the three sides.

        • Who?

          I’m seriously unimpressed with Petaia at present. He needs to go back and learn how to ruck, how to pass, and how he fits in the game plan. He rarely looks to set up players around himself, he rarely looks like he’s part of a team. And his work at the breakdown (more critical for centres than ever before) looks incredibly inept.

          He could be our greatest ever, eventually, but at present, his performances have had more negatives than positives.

          Oh, and I’d have Goodhue over Petaia any day.

        • UTG

          I don’t think Goodhue offers much in attack at all and he’s been caught on the hop in defence a lot recently. He’s not even playing 13 for the ABs anyway.

          It seems pretty clear that Petaia has been instructed to take the ball to the line, in the same role that TK played for many years. Paisami is distributing from 12.

        • Who?

          13 definitely has a tendency to be a ball running position in Australian Rugby (most of the past two decades – Mortlock, Kuridrani, AAC), but Petaia feels more like he’s playing his own game than those guys ever did.

          But it’s details in how he attacks breakdowns and the like which indicate his preparedness at this level. The fact he doesn’t throw safe passes, but has thrown a lot of loose offloads that have been turned over. Goodhue’s not the greatest attacking 13, but he’s a more complete, consistent player. Petaia’s still playing like a kid. Which is understandable, given he is one, but it doesn’t mean we can accept it as the final product.

        • UTG

          His loose offloads almost all came chasing the game in Sydney. I’ve noted above I’m not a fan of these but it’s easy to get sucked into them when you’re down by 2+ tries.

          I think you’re also understating how good he was with ball in hand on the weekend. 55m for 5 runs, that’s 11m a run without cheap metres from a kick return or a major break. When you’re beating the first man and getting well over the ad line every run pushing a pass further to a winger who is already covered isn’t necessary or the best course of action. Aside from his aimless kick, I think you would struggle to nominate a time with ball in hand where he could have passed to a player who would have made a more effective carry.

          What we didn’t do well as a team on the weekend was capitalise on his strong runs (nor strong carries from other players). I’d argue, in part, because playing predominantly off the 9 we weren’t identifying the space across the field. We need a proper 10 for that to happen.

        • Who?

          I agree we need a proper 10. But I am concerned about his work at the breakdown (even in Brisbane), his loose passes were in play the whole Tests season, and I don’t think he’s fitting into the pattern well. No question, the kid bumps tacklers, has pace, and can do freaky things. But I genuinely don’t think he’s fitting into the team and the role in the team which they need him to play yet. I look at Paisami and Petaia and think, if I could only have one in the team, even though Petaia’s ceiling is clearly a lot higher than Paisami’s, at this stage, Paisami’s in 8 days a week.

        • UTG

          Going to have to agree to disagree there. I think I could quite easily mount a similar line of argument for why Caleb Clarke should be dropped from the ABs. Reality is the freak is always going to get picked over the solid player. I just don’t think we know enough about the way the centres are being told to play to be casting aspersions like “he’s too selfish”, “he thinks he can do everything”, etc. From what I’ve seen he’s been a very effective crash ball 13 and there haven’t been many occasions where passing to the man outside him would definitely have led to a better outcome.

        • Who?

          I’m ok to agree to disagree.
          I don’t think he’s being deliberately selfish, I don’t know that he thinks he can do everything. It may equally be that he’s feeling pressure to do everything.
          I think his running lines need to be adjusted – part of the reason why he wouldn’t have been better off passing is that his natural tendency is to try to get outside the defenders. He’s running a lot of overs lines, meaning his wingers generally don’t have much space left anyway. Contrast his lines with TK or, more importantly, Mortlock.
          But I just think he needs time to mature. You rarely hurt a player by developing them more before promotion. And he needs to learn the breakdown.

        • UTG

          I think he’s much, much too good to be simply running the stock unders line like Mortlock and TK. There are maybe a handful of current NRL players as good as Petaia at standing up a man and bumping them and League is built for athletes who can do that. The wingers need to come back under when he’s beating the man on the inside as often as he does.

        • Geoffro

          Tom Wright goes OK at 13 from what I’ve seen him do at the Brums in the past.

        • Mike D

          Yep. He needs to have a chat with JOC. To me, it looks like Petaia is in a very similar head space to what JOC had starting out, “I’m really good so I have to do it all myself every time.” JOC has grown up and would be able to provide some genuine perspective I think.

        • Who?

          Except Jimmy always passed more.

        • idiot savant

          Agree with this. I think he needs some specialist 13 tutelage. By far his best football at SR and test level has been on the wing.

        • onlinesideline

          Re Hodge – how many positions can a bloke play and how many times can he swapped around ?

          I thought we were all hopeful that the Wallaby side under DR would reflect positions that players played during Super rugby. Jordan is our out and out long term 13. He has to get the experience under his belt. Hodge on his best day doesnt come close to Jordy on his best day at 13. I’d say bench Hodge. While his open play kicking is def good can we have someone in the back line just for that ? If people are hell bent in bringing JOC back then ist Hodge to the bench.

      • Adrian

        Exactly KARL

        That’s why Hodge is lucky he has never found a permanent position.

        If he had, he wouldn’t be in the team.

        A specialist 23 for mine.

  • If splitting the review down like that works, great. Part of me can’t help feel there’s going to be some fun in there. What happens if you assign a starting prop to review the last 20 when he’s not playing say? I mean that’s clearly a daft sort of thing to do, but you’ve got to manage it. What do you do if a player had a good game, then two real howlers in the last 10 minutes? Put them in that group so they can comment on that, or leave it to others to comment on?

    However, if they’re seeing an improvement in their learning processes that’s good. The obvious question has to be, will that lead to an improvement in performances on the pitch though?

    To bang an old drum, i don’t want to hear “we trained well.” We heard it from Hoss last week, rather than the coach, so we all believed it. We still do. But where was the performance. As I said yesterday, we call them cattle, a term I personally dislike, but they performed like cattle. Where was the top 2 inches? Or 5 cm I guess I should call it. We’re meant to be H. sapiens sapiens and that sapiens bit means thinking. Where, exactly, did anyone show any signs of thought? Of remembering the plans?

    Coming up with nuggets and plans to improve it great, but it has to translate to actions on the pitch guys.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      I’m pretty sure the coaching team have the skills to create an action but starting to wonder if the players have the ability to put the plan into action or to keep it going when they’re tired and under pressure. They need a mental skills coach

      • Geoffro

        They need a better captain

      • Mike D

        The process of reviewing the game like this is not only about “finding nuggets of gold”. Yes that will happen. But more importantly the players will start to assess their actions, individually and as a group, against the standards of the game plan. That drives the mindset of sticking to the plan because failure is seen as deviation from plan. The players start to internalise the ideas and concepts espoused, and that leads to incremental improvement.

        I suspect eventually they get good enough to assess themselves in game and determine critical points where moving away from the plan will achieve results, then have the discipline to revert to plan.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          You have to allow a culture of making mistakes is ok as long as you learn from them and don’t keep doing them or it won’t work

        • UTG

          Well said. I’d go further and say the process of players reviewing the game is not about “finding nuggets of gold” at all. The coaches and analysts will still do their normal review, this is just supplementary. As you said, the reason for these sessions is to get the players to identify what worked and what didn’t work and what they need to do in similar situations in the future. Player run review sessions are also hardly novel, they’re done from schoolboy level up.

        • Reds Revival

          I must admit that I have attended numerous staff training sessions, conducted by experts, that divide the participants into groups, to identify and solve problems. While these are always fun, I haven’t seen any of them make a significant difference to team behaviour going forward (but maybe that is just a reflection of the companies that I worked for).

        • UTG

          Yeah, I know the sort of thing. I guess this is different in that you’re watching and critiquing yourself rather than going through some sort of appreciation process to solve a hypothetical.

        • mortlucky

          Well I think the beautiful first phase tries we’ll see next game will be entirely due to the group that built the highest tower using only drinking straws and paper clips.

        • Reds Revival

          Brilliant!

        • Mike D

          Have they been identifying and solving those problems against a clearly defined framework and rubric? I think that is the difference here, not just, “What worked, what didn’t” but also, “At this point the plan said to do this. We didn’t. Why not?”

        • Reds Revival

          I must admit that I have attended numerous staff training sessions, conducted by experts, that divide the participants into groups, to identify and solve problems. While these are always fun, I haven’t seen any of them make a significant difference to team behaviour going forward (but maybe that is just a reflection of the companies that I worked for).

    • Crescent

      Love it EP – hit the nail on the head. We already saw some nuggets on the weekend, more than enough in my books. It was all about the top 2 inches. Lack of respect for an opposition that would not go away, failure to increase scoreboard pressure in the first half, and a lack of nous on closing out the game by building pressure through possession in the right parts of the field.

      I won’t say much more – it was frustrating to enough to deal with on the day – but completely agree that is now boils down to the actions on match day.

    • onlinesideline

      Agree – I was thinking about the leadership discussion here yesterday and really while it has its place, shouldnt the most important thing be that ALL players on the park are on the same page. Yes a couple of guys need to be barking orders to crystalize intentions but one thing “Ruuchie” said more than once was that he didn’t really speak that often to the team during the match. He always said that a well organised team should know what to do. If there was problems with effort or commitment to getting your man, thats when he stepped in.

      • Yowie

        Although if a flanker did need to speak to his team, he would need to orient himself in the ruck in such a way that the team can hear him better.

      • Missing Link

        in fairness, Ruuchie is a quietly spoken man and impossible to get a word in with Aaron Smith or TJ Perenara on the field anyway.

      • Keith Butler

        You are dead right OLSL. It cannot all be down to the captain. He needs his on field lieutenants to step up.

  • Seb V

    In regards to Tate McDermont “with the Reds halfback arguably the best running half in the squad” This is incorrect. No-one is arguing. He IS the best running halfback in Australia. Its the other parts of this game that may need improving.

    • Ian

      I disagree with that. So I will argue against that, which immediately puts me in a nice “always going to win” position in this arguement (on the arguement you posit that there is no arguement). So with this new arguement, i win this arguement.

      But on to my point, Nic White is the best running half, because he knows when to, he does not simply have running as his primary go-to. Now you may argue that all he does is kick, which is no longer accurate, but was once, simply becasue he did what he was told to do by the coach (Jake White), what we see from him now is a complete game, with wise choices when it comes to running.

      I love Tate and the thought of him being our long term 9, but not yet, White is a far superior option for this moment in the Wallabies development.

  • Steve

    I was thinking about this halfback ‘use it’ call as well. The law says:

    When the ball has been clearly won by a team at the ruck, and is available to be played, the referee calls “use it”, after which the ball must be played away from the ruck within five seconds.

    Not once have I ever seen the ‘use it’ call at the point the ball has clearly been won and is available – only ever when the ball is sitting under the last foot with the halfback standing over the top of it. It’s pretty obviously a misapplication of the current law (as you say) so should be super easy to stamp out. The call of ‘use’ should be the moment the ball is visible and isn’t being contested.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      And call ball out so the defence can come up

      • Reds Revival

        I think that would pretty much end Nick White’s career!! He loves drawing out the box kick for as long as possible.

        • Who?

          Maybe not? I’ve not seen him build caterpillars of the type he’s created this year until the last year or so. He’d have less of an issue adapting to the older style (no caterpillar) than some Saffa scrummies, and younger scrumhalves.

        • Reds Revival

          Did you see the clip of him at the back of a caterpillar in Prem? One of the Pom props said “FFS, hurry up and kick the ball. I’m getting old here”.

  • GeorgiaSatellite

    Thanks Nathan, although I hope Louis Lynagh hasn’t DEnounced his Aussie heritage, merely REnounced it. :-) Good luck to young Tom.

    • Yowie

      People should be more careful to not use an erogenous word.

      • GeorgiaSatellite

        I should’ve seen that coming.

  • Alister Smith

    Very sad to see the reports that Christophe Dominici has died overnight. A wonderful player to watch. RIP

    • onlinesideline

      stories like that are very sad indeed.

    • IIPA

      Concur – a great player and part of some really good French backlines

  • onlinesideline

    Wonder what the reviews are like post victory as compared to post defeat when the victory was by 2 points. Was the victory after the win against ABs as intense as review post Argies draw. Does a succesful kick on the bell have a big effect. Yes winning is “pretty much” everything in rugby but should it be everything when it comes to reviews ? The missed kick on Saturday will be a blessing in disguise one would think as the last 20 was forgettable even if Hodgey stuck the kick. Until we are putting teams to the sword by 15-20 points at the whistle, keep our foot on throats once we have leads, scoring tries and making goals in the same game, we ain’t at Wallaby Nirvana. Rennie is definitely allowed this season as a grace period to get us on that path.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      I’m pretty sure the review process covers the good and bad regardless of a win, draw or loss. There’s always lessons to be learnt and mistakes to be rectified

      • onlinesideline

        Then one could ask the question “Why the HELL didn’t they learn from the previous tests / reviews after being in the same position” They were not dissimilar games.

        • UTG

          Why have the ABs consistently struggled against a defensive side that forces them to create their own play? Why didn’t they learn from their previous mistakes? Why does Steve Smith average less against left-arm finger spinners? Has he not tried to fix these issues?

          Professional sport is hard. Nothing is fixed after a review session. Too many Wallaby supporters got caught up in the idea that all of the ills in Australian Rugby were created by Cheika and replacing him would lead to instant success. Unsurprisingly, this has not been the case.

          Now, after a draw against a side that made NZ look dead average the week before, there’s gnashing of teeth, calls for certain players to be punted back to club rugby, and sweeping generalisations that the side has no smarts.

          Of course, it was disappointing to draw a game we should have won comfortably but there were many signs that we are on the right track. Petaia’s no try, Paisami puts in a deft kick and catches the rush defence on the hop. Koroibete’s no try, Paisami shapes to kick again but instead hits Hodge on the loop and the Pumas are caught short out wide. In both instances, careful manipulation of the defence that demonstrated nous and match-awareness.

        • Who?

          Gotta mention the Cheika comment…
          Sacking Cheika wasn’t going to resolve everything, but it was going to allow a process to commence that would see change.

          Every new appointment takes time to impose themselves. There’s been a lot of talk about how hard it is for a 29 year old THP to start lowering his target and stop tackling wingers around the head. That’s fair (although that’s asking someone to do what they should always have done!). For our players, the whole, “Run it back from anywhere,” mantra is somewhat ingrained – even for those who weren’t part of the Cheik era. It’ll take time for the players to realise that playing the ball up the other end, requiring kicking and defence, may be boring, but it’s more enjoyable than not winning.

          I agree we’re on the right track. And I think Paisami played a cracker. I think he’s really taken to Rennie’s ways, that he’s found a natural fit.

        • UTG

          I understand what you’re trying to say re Cheika, however, have the failings of the team this year actually come from issues ingrained by his coaching? I’m not sure the team has been trying to run it from everywhere. In the first game under Rennie much of our success was predicated on a smart tactical kicking game. On the weekend we controlled territory, many times when we stole the ball we kicked into the corners and chased well. Our issues at Eden Park were missed tackles and in Sydney turning over the ball too much.

        • onlinesideline

          “Our issues at Eden Park were missed tackles and in Sydney turning over the ball too much.”- thats pretty Cheika era-ish isnt it ?

        • UTG

          Pretty much any team that doesn’t play well makes those mistakes, they’re not issues exclusively ingrained by the coaching of Cheika.

          The contention was that running the ball was so deeply embedded in the psyche of the players by Cheika that we’re still continuing to suffer because of it. I just don’t see evidence this was the case.

        • onlinesideline

          I was going to preface my comment with an “agree on first bit” but was a bit lazy but yeah I agree on that point.

        • UTG

          Pushing passes and chasing the game when we’re down by only a couple of scores. I thought after we rallied in Wellington we may have put that behind us but it was present in Sydney and Auckland. To be fair, it takes a lot of self-belief to back yourself to come over the top of NZ so I’m happy to give it time.

        • Who?

          Our issues on the weekend were that we stopped kicking and got caught in possession running the ball back. If we’d continued the last 20 minutes with the tactics of the first 60, we’d have won.

          Eden Park, our failings were missed tackles exacerbated by poor tactical kicking (i.e. we kicked to Clarke in space), Sydney a significant part of it was asking Noah to defend where he had no idea how to defend (multiple tries were simply off his poor positioning – and I don’t blame him for that), then scoreboard pressure.

          We’re going to have dud outcomes over the first year of Rennie’s tenure. But I think this is the first time we can say, “That’s a mindset issue which hasn’t been fully changed yet.” And given it’s not Cheika players, it’s not directly on Cheika, but it’s definitely the same mindset.

        • idiot savant

          Wise words UTG. This is a young inexperienced side with heaps of potential and on a steep learning curve. I think the results have been as expected. If you’d offered me a draw and win against the ABs before the series I would have taken it. And lets respect the defence of the Pumas. It beat the ABs. It was our lack of composure and patience (which comes from experience) that let us down. I see good things ahead.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Not winning any games in 2018 is up there. You have to have a culture that allows for honest reviews, accepts mistakes and puts in place some learnings and that takes time to develop

        • Hoppy

          That last match of Link’s tenure was down to White not kicking the ball out at the death. Sauvea fields the kick with no one chasing it and scores in the opposite corner. IF White just punts it to touch it is game over and a win.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Nathan. I’m not so sure there will be any major changes. I’m thinking Rennie will already be focussing on 21 and looking at what he needs to work on with the Super coaches so he can be better next year. It could be that he’ll do the “fuck it” let’s roll the dice and while I think a lot of supporters would support that, I’m not so sure that RA or some of the power brokers in NSW & QLD would not use this as a way to dig at him, something he’ll be well aware of.

    I like Genia’s idea but I think rather than call use it, call “ball out” that’d get things moving. I also think that maybe a law where a ball has to be more than 75% covered to be considered in a ruck. Can’t do that with a caterpillar.

    If Lynagh is half as good as his dad he’ll be awesome. Looking forward to seeing him in red and maybe gold one day

    • Greg

      Ball out would do it.

      There would be some stunned 9s for a while… but they would learn quickly.

      • Yowie

        There would be some stunned 9s for a while

        Does a No9 shut up while stunned?

        • Greg

          from experience….. No

  • mortlucky

    Sidebar:
    The SAS Australia subtitles person/AI appears to be unfamiliar with Badger’s turn of phrase. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b51efdd215fbb783165c917d466be76668a3b1526e37b4f1932d49a0198a366e.jpg

    • Ian

      Yeah, What he actually said was:

      “Holy snap induction, Cows and round bat spray!”

  • IIPA

    Pretty average dig at Hanigan here… just another lazy pile on frankly. He was far from our worst player and the cold hard truth is Valentini and Wright have just been okay when played.

    Honestly I thought the key moment of the match was Tom Wright being replaced by Daugunu. That spoke of a coach with pre ordained substitution plans irrespective of context. Wright has been close to our best, looked dangerous and cleaned up some shit. Marika meanwhile was midway through yet another chapter of ‘When Diamond turns to Rock’. Why replace the one guy who was making positive contribution after positive contribution.

    It was a disappointing moment where I realised Rennie ain’t the Messiah.

    • Greg

      I think that was a turning point as well.

      Then he ran into contact and was turned over. Put it down the other end and in space. Argh….

    • Missing Link

      Have to agree, MK should have been subbed for Duagunu, not Wright.

    • Simon

      I’ve been a pretty vocal critic of Hanigan’s selection in past years but I think he’s actually been very much better this year. IMO the biggest problem with his game in previous years wasn’t even his fault – it was that Cheika kept selecting him and setting him up to fail, and bringing the wrath of media and Wallabies fans down on him.

      Whether he’s put on weight, grown in confidence, or some combination of factors he’s just had more presence at rucks and in contact. I’m still not convinced he should start over Liam Wright, I don’t think Wright’s really been given enough of an opportunity to show what he can do at this level either – the Wallabies are still lacking a dedicated fetcher. Hooper has been much improved in that department, but he’s no Wright over the ball.

      For the final test I’d have a back row of Wright, Hooper and Wilson, with Hanigan and McReight on the bench.

  • Yowie

    From an article on Nigel Owens approaching his retirement (https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/nov/24/nigel-owens-get-back-to-the-referee-reffing-the-game-rugby-union )

    “I remember promising, as a surprise, to referee an U12s game between Pencoed and Cwmbran, the day after a European fixture between Leicester v Ulster. The look on the kids’ faces was a picture. Well, apart from one little winger sat in the corner. ‘I do hope,’ he said to me, ‘that you’re going to referee this game better than you did last night’s.’”

    • Keith Butler

      Out of the mouths of babes – classic. Nigel would have been proud of that one. Always thought he was a decent ref who comes out with pithy comments of his own.

      • Yowie

        I’ve always been a fan.

        There are a few Nigel Owens highlights reels floating around on youtube that are usually good for a chuckle. One of my favourites was after a wonky lineout throw:

        “I’m straighter than that throw”

        • Keith Butler

          Just been reviewing on you tube. Another classic to two front rows “ if you don’t like scrummaging you’re in the wrong position” – brilliant.

  • Mart

    Oconnor to 10 Hodge to 15

    • Who?

      Hodge to 13.

      • Mart

        Fark no. Still burnt from the series he played at 13 v all blacks under chieka. Plus we have 13’s now

        • Ads

          I’d prefer TK at 13 and jordy “I don’t pass” can go to the Exocet wing

        • Who?

          Who’s your 13..? Petaia? Hodge has been better at 10 than Petaia at 13, and only one of those two is in their ‘natural’ position.

  • Reds Revival

    It will be good to see what a difference JOC2.0 makes to the rhythm and functioning of the backline. Very happy to see Tate back in the mix for the next game. Hopefully he gets a decent run.
    With all of Rennie’s trialling at 6, I would really love to see him tinker with 7, to see how much of a difference it makes.

    • Brendan Hume

      Hooper was the fastest player to 100 tests (I think by about a year) at a time when players are playing more than ever, players are bigger, fitter and stronger, and the game is faster than ever. No matter how good he is as a player, nobody could tell me he’s able to deliver his best as a captain and as a seven with that workload. Multiple Australian coaches have given him too much workload in my opinion…

      • Reds Revival

        Agree 100%. While he is made of very tough stuff, we have never really seen what the alternative is at international level, and I can’t say that he has always been head and shoulders above his peers at SRAU level.

  • Reds Revival

    Great to see the signing of Tom Lynagh. The Reds are building a formidable backline (to go with their formidable forward pack). I will be curious to see whether they play Paisami or Hamish Stewart at 12 next year. Stewart can feel hard done by if he is bumped to the bench, as he was a fringe WB squad member for mine.

  • Ads

    Interesting question – has the offspring of famous athlete ever been as good as dad/mum? Rarely I think. Maybe the Sio boys? I’ve seen a bunch of Cricket offspring rely on the surname to never quite get anywhere near as good as the old man.

    • Ads

      Wayne Pearce beats Mitchell
      Brad’s haddin beats kid
      Brett Lee beats kid
      Steve Waugh beats kid
      Don’t get me started on the Marsh’s
      Etc
      Etc
      Etc

      • Who?

        Didn’t think you could beat your kids anymore..? ;-P

        The Chappells were better than grandpa Vic. The Lawtons and McLeans did ok in Qld Rugby? But I think you’re right – it’s rare. I’d say the Unsers, Fittipaldis and Andrettis were better each previous generation. Same with Villeneuve (even though Jacques won a title and Gilles only won 6 races, no title), Dick and Steve Johnson, Earnhardts…

        • Ads

          Yep there’s a few but not many.

          Sam Scott-young
          Wendell
          Gasnier?

          Dad wins all of those I reckon.

        • Who?

          The big question is what happens when we see kids from two sportspeople, rather than just one. What happens when the Warner girls are looking to play a sport? Or when Voldemort and Maria have kids? If Starc and Healy have kids?

          I guess we’ve missed the obvious one, though. I don’t know that many would argue that Smiley Barrett was better than ANY of his AB sons. His achievements in genetics are first class.

        • Alister Smith

          Sadly we are unlikely to see any offspring from Toomua-Perry – David and Candice Warners girls should have no limit of talent in their DNA

        • Ads

          There’s an awesome joke in there somewhere around ball tampering in cubicles with Aaron Smiths kids.

        • Who?

          Nah, the Warners have far too much class to go near Aaron’s kids.

        • Geoffro

          Candice would never let her kids repeat her mistake

        • Ads

          Isn’t Voldemort Cheika? Did he and Maria have kids – what a scoop! I blame hoss.

        • Who?

          Folau was Voldemort before Cheika. Cheika, during that era, was the clown. I don’t know why people started referring to him as Voldemort – I’ve not been around as much during SR Aus, I think perhaps that misnomer started then?

          Israel and Maria haven’t had kids yet (that I know about – you’d think it would make headlines, seeing everything he does is a headline isn’t it?), but (regardless of their beliefs) we’ve claimed them to represent Australia (i.e. not New Zealand), even before they were married. :-)

        • Yowie

          If Maria’s kids throw their toys out of the cot all the time then the rumour is definitely true.

        • Alister Smith

          Out of the cot and straight through the net….swish

        • Geoffro

          Anthony Mundine.(At least by his own reckoning)

        • Ads

          The definitive fig jam.

        • Geoffro

          Definitely. Unlike Ali , nobody ever really believed him

        • Yowie

          It’s before my day, but my impressions of Ali are that Ali didn’t 100% believe his own hype either*. It was just something that evolved as a way to promote the fight and get paying punters to come in to see a loud-mouth get punched.

          (*although I’m sure he believed his own hype more than 0%)

        • Geoffro

          Ali was a master of self promotion,someone people loved to hate and vice versa and ultimately he was the greatest.When Mundine opened his trap it just elicited groans.

        • Yowie

          There is a fantastic documentary film of the Thrilla in Manilla. One of the themes was that Joe Frazier channelled Ali’s shit-talking into unbreakable resolve and he still hasn’t let go of the matter.

          Towards the end of the film one of the interviewees goes “check this out” and dials Joe Frazier’s number, to get an answering machine message to the effect of “This is Joe Frazier’s answering machine. See how messed-up Muhammad Ali is now? I did that to him”.

        • Alister Smith

          Yeah live watched that Ali’s sledging is relentless and very harsh. Frazier had lent Ali money and helped get his career going again once he was allowed to fight after his ban was lifted. To me, Ali who had been a hero of mine as a kid, came across as unnecessarily cruel. And yes Frazier held his bitterness to the end, although he wasn’t unaffected by head injuries himself. He came across as pretty punchy.

        • Yowie

          Didn’t think you could beat your kids anymore..? ;-P

          I’m a bit busy this afternoon. Is someone else ok to post the child custody joke about the Waratahs (or Reds, or whomever)?

      • mortlucky

        Steve v Matt Rogers?

        • Ads

          Oooh. Matt might win that one.

      • UTG

        Peter Fitzsimmons’ son was on that Ninja Warrior show. Seriously weird operator, yelling at himself to get hyped before failing pretty early in the course. Physically a pretty unremarkable performance but memorable because of his big mouth, very reminiscent of his father’s Wallaby days and subsequent media career.

        • Ads

          So he exceeded his dad – but just in the dickhead stakes? Thats still an achievement given dad’s overwhelming success in that particular field. We could put that down as a win?!

        • UTG

          Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, he’s only young. Captain Feathersword has a lifetime of work behind him.

    • Mike D

      Would be rare due to regression to the mean. In any population multiple, random sub-sets of the population begin to look like the overall average. Exceptional athletes are, well, exceptional. Their off-spring, while not entirely a random sample from the population, are likely to be more like the population average than as exceptional as their parent/parents. However they are more likely to be exceptional than the offspring of two normal or average people would be.

      • Yowie

        Can we not engage in an unethical “Boys from Brazil” style cloning/breeding program for our most talented athletes?

        • Who?

          Isn’t that the Warner/Falzon, Israel/Maria, Starc/Healy program..?

        • idiot savant

          Toomua/Perry were eliminated from the program.

      • Ads

        I nearly wrote something very similar. Statistics vs genetics. It appears statistics wins.

    • Patrick

      France’s Romain Ntamack is currently carbing it up and well on track to be better than his (very good) dad Emile.

      Also a different sport but Gary Ablett Jr

    • HK Red

      Andy/Owen Farrell
      Reg/Mark Gasnier
      Chris/Stuart Broad
      Harry/Jamie Redknapp
      Gilles/Jacques Villeneuve
      Dale Earnhardt/Dale Earnhardt Jr.

      I think in a lot of the above, the offspring may have been better.

  • Jason

    I’ll be curious for what the Reds backline looks like next year?

    They’ll more than likely continue with McDermott & O’Connor at 9/10. Daugunu and Vunivalu will be their wingers (unless they move Daugunu to 15?). Campbell is the likely fullback. Hegarty is presumably your 23. What do you do with your centre pairings?

    Only two of the trio Stewart, Pisami and Petaia can start. Who misses out?
    Do you keep Hunter on the bench because he can play 12 & 13, or Petiaia because he can play wing as well as 13? Or do you relegate Stewart to the bench despite him being the defensive organiser (although he can easily cover 10, 12 and 15 so that’s handy)?

    • Reds Revival

      Given that Hunter is in the Wallabies, Hamish pretty much has to go to the bench (although, I’m not convinced that this will be the best outcome – Hamish is the glue that holds that backline together).
      It shows the quality of the team when they have Stewart, Hegarty and CFS riding the pine…

      • Jason

        Well Stewart probably would have been the 12 replacement if he was in the squad, and leaving him out of the squad was pretty line ball.

    • idiot savant

      Yeah its gonna be interesting. Thorn loves big crashing centres. He played Kerevi and CFS there for 2 seasons (a complete failure btw). So I imagine he will play Hunter and Jordy in the centres. Stewart hasn’t played one second at 10 since he was dropped from that position by McKay last season so he is not wanted there. Hegarty is the reserve 10 and given that JOC can play 12, I cant see a place for Stewart in the side. The other reserve will be an outside back, Flook or Grealy.

      Stewart might want to consider seeking a release. A season in club football will only devalue him in the domestic and international market so moving now might be his best bet. The Tahs are the only Australian side I can see being interested in him as the others all have good 12s. A backline of Harrison, Stewart, Walton, Ramm, Marky, and Maddocks is something to conjure with. Stewart is just the sort of distributor to light up the Tags outside men.

      • Reds Revival

        I don’t think Stewart will be going anywhere. He’s a true country boy who is very loyal by nature. Considering all the work and faith that the Reds have shown him, I doubt that McKay will want to scrap him. He will still get game time.

  • Whoever gets the number 6 jersey long-term needs to be a heavy hitter and tough. Pity Lachie Swinton is out still. Agree that O’Connor should come in as the run-on 5/8. On that I would keep Hodge but at Full-Back.

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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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