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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News looks at the latest Waratahs coach candidates, how keeping it simple delivered a Wallabies call-up for a Brumby, an injury update on Suliasi Vunivalu and the main motivation for Jordan Uelese


Manenti the Man

Tane Edmed playing for Eastwood (Photo: Karen Watson)

Tane Edmed playing for Eastwood (Photo: Karen Watson)

Auditions have continued to come for ‘The W Factor’ – the search for the Waratahs next head coach (TV show rights trademarked) as Sevens head coach John Manenti puts his hand up for the role.

Manenti led Eastwood to three Shute Shield titles in five years as head coach before helping Australia’s women’s side to gold at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

With the Olympics campaign to be wrapped up by the end of July, Manenti wants the opportunity to rebuild the Waratahs, lambasting their neglect of the Shute Shield.

“I’d love to at some stage move into Super Rugby and I’d love to be able to do something to improve the current situation at the Waratahs,” Manenti told foxsports.com.au.

“We’ve gone away from what our best source of players was and potentially the best club comp in Australia and we started picking development players to be project players.

“When Cheik came in he asked me for a list of players who were doing well in the Shute Shield and I gave him 25 names and he took 18 blokes to Argentina on a development tour.

“Perhaps not all of them but the ones that he liked helped become the foundation for his squad for the next three or four years and so effectively he picked the bones out of the Shute Shield.

“But I don’t know if in the last three or four years there’s been a real concern about what happens at club land.”

Another potential candidate is Darren Coleman, who is reportedly willing to leave the glitz of LA and come back home, having made a name breaking Gordon’s eternal drought without a premiership.

However, one man who will not audition for the role is former NSW assistant and Verblitz
coach Simon Cron, who told SMH that he gave the Japanese club his word.

Not a nobody

Caderyn Neville

Brumbies lock Cadeyrn Neville has revealed how a simplification of his game has helped inspire a second coming to the national set up.

Neville has been a regular selection in these ‘wider training squads’ across his career, selected by four different Wallabies coaches (Deans, McKenzie, Cheika, Rennie).

Despite this, he is yet to play a minute for the green and gold, with a revival for the Brumbies helping to keep the 32-year-old’s dream alive.

“For sure, it’s good to be back in that set-up and get recognition at this stage of the season,” Neville told Rugby.com.au

“(Last year in Rennie’s squad) probably the most important thing for me was getting familiar with the players who are going to be regular fixtures there as well as the coaches.

“How well you work with each other is ultimately what’s most important.

“It’s awesome to have this many Brumbies (14) involved. It’s easier working with guys you train with every day and you are proud of your mates getting there.

“Personally, it feels a long way off before they assemble the (Wallabies) team though.”

Like seemingly the majority of Australian rugby, Neville can partially thank Brad Thorn for his revival, with the former Kiwi helping him define his role as a player during his short stint with the club.

“Brad put it back on me straight away when he asked me what sort of footballer I wanted to be,” Neville said at the time when he spoke to the then U20’s coach.

“A player who has a big, physical presence around the field” was the answer from Neville.

“Improving things like shoulder strength and balance to make better contact when tackling was one thing I worked at.”

Suli’s sidelined

Suliasi Vunivalu pre-game

Suliasi Vunivalu pre-game

The Reds could be without new convert Suliasi Vunivalu until the end of the regular season after suffering a hamstring injury.

This was confirmed by Queensland general manager Sam Cordingley, revealing that the former Storm flyer had ‘twinged’ his left-hamstring.

“He’s got a minor hamstring twinge and it’s under management,” he said on Monday.

“It’ll be under a month at this stage; we’ve got pretty good medical staff that have brought players back in good time … hopefully between two and four weeks.”

The Reds have followed the lead of every good tourist, basing themselves in Coogee as they look to avoid being trapped by the Brisbane lockdown.

Whilst this trip will hopefully be for a short period, Cordingley was looking at sending the squad on a larger trip in place of the dumped NRC later in the year.

He was optimistic that they could relive the joys of 2005 and take the team across the world, pending the whole COVID situation not flaring up again.

“In terms of the NRC not being part of the future, we’ve got our eye on a few different things and that might be for instance taking the Reds back on tour as it used to be,” the former Reds and Wallabies halfback said.

“There are obviously some challenges around that at the moment given the state of COVID, but we’d love to be playing against teams in New Zealand or Argentina or the UK of France.

“That might be the plan for the Queensland Reds and that would provide an opportunity after Super Rugby to allow those quality players in Queensland Premier Rugby to put their hands up to fill the gaps of the Wallabies at the time.”

Bounce-back Season

Jordan Uelese

Jordan Uelese

Rebels hooker Jordan Uelese has committed his focus towards delivering the Rebels a maiden Super Rugby premiership as he works his way back into the Wallabies set-up.

Uelese was a surprise omission from the 40-man squad, with the 24-year-old struggling with injury throughout the season.

I got the chance to talk to Uelese last week before the squad was announced and he said that the dream of a maiden title and a chance to inspire the next generation was all the motivation that he needed.

“We’re that next generation, you’ve got guys like Christian Lealiifano, Digby Ioane, there’s a lot of players who grew up in Victoria, but just didn’t have that pathway,” he told Sporting News

“Now that we’ve got a team and now that we’re plastered all over there, it just proves that there is a genuine pathway in Victoria to come through from club rugby, through school footy, senior club footy into the Melbourne Rebels, which is special.

“For now, my goal is to be the best player I can be for the Rebels, the best Jordan Uelese I can be to help my team win their first Super Rugby championship.

“We’ve got the squad to do it, we’ve come through it so many times and being away for that five week period has brought us together as a club.

“We’ve got two wins on the trot, we’re really building to win that championship this year and I think we have the squad to do it.”

Having spent the best part of the last year on the road, Uelese wasn’t keen on following Brad Thorn’s stance and turn into the Rotorua Rebels for Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, eager to stay at home and reward their fans for their commitment.

“It’s different for everyone, I personally wouldn’t want to move to New Zealand for that five-week period, been on the road for long enough, but, if it means that we get more game time then sure,” he said.

“There’s guys in that team who have kids, families and stuff like that.

“Good on Brad Thorn for wanting to be the Queenstown Reds but we’re the Melbourne Rebels, we want to be here in Melbourne.

“We want to play in front of our fans and give them what they deserve.”

  • Huw Tindall

    Fingers crossed for the Reds with COVID kicking off in SE Queensland. Imagine if they got a home semi and couldn’t play at home. Luckily as a Tahs fan I don’t have that concern.

    Uelese referring to himself in the 3rd person is enough reason to not put him in the PONI squad. Add it to his list of work ons. Seriously though he just doesn’t have the “body of work” to justify a selection. Talent is not enough to get a spot. It needs to be backed by consistent application on the field. It’s tough injury has prevented Uelese from getting that game time but tough. It’s different for seasoned pros who can come back into a squad straight from injury as they don’t have anything to prove. Perhaps honestly as well I just haven’t seen dominant performances from him. He doesn’t eat up pies on the back of a rolling maul like Folau, nor is recognised as gun scrummager like BPA or Latu and Tag before him, nor is he proving a super consistent line out thrower or threat on the ball like a Bismark Du Plessis type.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      I’m happy with the PONI squad. Looks to me like finally there is some accountability happening

      • Hoppy

        I think it’s pretty good as well with possibly the one exception. If picked on form, how did Swinton make the squad when Lee-Warner has been excellent and missed out?

        • Reds Revival

          There’s two or three line ball calls in this one, FLW being one of them. Perhaps DR feels that Swinton has proven himself at national level, whereas FLW is still an unknown.
          The other for mine was Jordan Petaia being picked, and I’m a Reds fan. He just hasn’t done the basics well enough to get picked in this squad. I think Jock Campbell should have been selected instead, as both Paisami and Ikitau offer enough at 13.

        • Damo

          There’s a real “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” with Jordy isn’t there. He’s quick, strong and elusive and he can defend. The coaches must be putting a bucketload of time into him. In spite of that, so often he doesn’t seem to know what he is trying to do, which leads to spur of the moment decision making and with that mistakes. From a backline tactical point of view 13 is a terrible place for unforced errors to be made- a bit like hookers not being able to hit lineout jumpers. I also don’t think shovelling him out to the wing does him or the team (Reds or Wallabies) any favours either. If he stays in the squad I reckon 20 mins from the bench might be the best bet.
          I think he might be one of those kids who was elevated too soon and is not quite mature enough yet.

        • idiot savant

          Agree. Dropping Jordy would’ve been a nice little incentivising kick up the bum.

        • Reds Revival

          The strange part is, no one seems game enough to drop him, not even The Padre

        • idiot savant

          Yes its a fine line that coaches walk with sort of stuff. The coach will have a better read on the players personality and psyche and how they might react to being dropped. Perhaps thats a factor.

          But there’s also the double standard that can erode player belief in the coach if they see that one player is allowed a lot of rope and another very little.

        • Keith Butler

          I feel you may well be right about the Brick and Pataia. Both seem to have imo that ‘look at me’ mentality. The Brick ‘I’m so tough so I’ll bypass all the unseen grunt work demanded of a top class 6 and Pataia’s what I can only describe as ball hogging so that he can showcase his exaggerated stepping and forget about his fellow backs.

        • idiot savant

          FLW was very unlucky. His post contact meters must be right up there.

  • Who?

    The fact that Manenti’s talking about Shute players rather than NRC players indicates he’s part of the problem, and therefore a shot at the job…
    Contrastingly, it’s very noteworthy that Cordingly’s talking about needing something to fill the development role the NRC had, above the level of QPR.
    The difference in focus says it all, really.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Obviously Maneti understands the board and the way they think. This will be something those idiots will grasp and run with

      • Geoffro

        Just seen Tolu Latu has been done for falling asleep at the wheel again.Something he learned from his previous masters at NSWRU ?

        • Brisneyland Local

          Well how would he learn from it. He was rewarded with a Wallabies slot. He has lost his licence twice previous to these two incidents as well. Recidivist? I am fucking sure of it.

        • Geoffro

          Would he even have a licence ? here or anywhere else. Wonder if Stade will kick him to the kerb

        • Brisneyland Local

          Lets hope so, he wasnt by the Tah’s or the Wallabies when it happened. PLayers have had their contracts torn up for less.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Agree.

    • idiot savant

      I think Manetti is drawing attention to the need for picking the best from SS and upskilling them in the absence of the NRC. Politics is the art of the possible and he is probably being a realist. It doesn’t mean he wouldn’t try and do the same thing and tour a squad of top SS players. Its a good idea. Maybe Hoss is right, Get Cheika in as Director of Rugby. He would have the influence to get the higher ups to approve a tour or shock horror even back the return of the NRC or a similar comp. Cheik did mention on Stan how influential the NRC had been for the Reds.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Nathan, Gee Manenti is saying all the right things that will appeal to the NSWRU board isn’t he? If he truly believes this then he’s as deluded as the board but tbh I’m over trying to give them any support. Interesting comments from Penney today and shows things were never really that rosy for him https://www.smh.com.au/sport/rugby-union/penney-says-nsw-board-should-be-held-to-account-after-sacking-20210330-p57fbj.html
    Good to see the development of Neville and I hope this continues as while he is playing well he still has some rough areas. A great story of development though and it’s good to hear players wanting to develop further rather than think they’ve reached their pinnacle and no need to improve.
    Pity about Venivula but tbh he hasn’t impressed me that much yet and I’d rather see Stewart back as 12 with the 2 P’s moving out one slot.

    • Crescent

      How dare Penney call a spade a bloody shovel! The hide of the man, telling truths and talking good sense!

      In all seriousness, it makes for dire reading as a Tahs fan. The ongoing shambles of the back office shenanigans poisoning the well. How many players will they burn out whilst furiously feathering their own nests? Particular notes from Penney were the number of players with a year or so left on their contract heading overseas for good offers – speaks further volumes around the lack of culture (as if any more needed to be said).

      He was, without doubt, the scapegoat, and NSW Rugby have lost a coach who could have achieved a great deal had they kept their promises. His words should ring as fair warning to any coach thinking of approaching the role – unless they cleanse the back office with fire (never mind a broom), the Tahs coaching role will become the poisoned chalice that belonged to QLD pre-Padre.

    • Hoss

      Did you see the linked article from Kafer? ‘The Waratah’s coaching gig ‘is the easiest job in Australian rugby’

      I miss The Oracle, or Rugby’s Phil Gould – so inciteful, so wise, so completely deranged.

      • Yowie

        Team selection is demonstrably a piece of p!ss. Everyone does it on this forum and in every pub.

        • Team selection is dead easy. Everyone up here is playing “here’s my Lions starting team.”

          GOOD team selection though… that’s what you get paid the big bucks for…

        • Keith Butler

          I’ve played the Lions game as well EP and it shames me to say that even as an ardent SD I could only find a place for 2 Poms in my XV, Curry and Watson.

        • I didn’t pick any, I’ll admit. Part of that was tactical, I put Williams on one wing so I could have both him and Hogg in my XV.

          Likewise Curry missed out for me, there’s just so much competition, II ended up putting Beirne in at lock and the Welsh back row. It gives nice balance, a critical unit that already works together, a lineout option in Tipuric, a kick defender in Faletau, two turnover artists, and hopefully Navidi can neutralise du Toit as he does so many other fetchers.

          Watson made my wider squad. So did Cowan-Dicke. And I’d take Sam Simmonds too.

      • onlinesideline

        But I did agree with him (first time ever ) that we don’t value our home grown coaching talent enough. I was surprised he held Mick Byrne is SUCH high regard. Obviously hes got tonne of knowledge but has he ever coached a high level team himself, as head coach.

        • Hoss

          Good point, but………..

          I am constantly amazed by comments like this from Kafer and the wider Rugby ‘Experts’ of the like -on a variety of rugby subjects, but this time re Byrnes – how they don’t actually (seem to) stand up to any critical investigation. They make ‘broad statements’ but are they right – read on.

          I start by saying I appreciate that when with the Wallabies setup, he was but one part of a coaching team, all with different levels of input / influence. But none-the-less he was on the good ship wallaby during this period.

          But name one part of the Wallabies that improved from fulltime in the RWC final of 2015 and Full Time in the quarters the RWC of 2019 ?

          What happened to our rankings during the same period?

          How did the quality of our play change for the good during such time?

          What evolution of styles, skills or player development was evident?

          No doubt he was but one of several voices all muffled by Master Cheika, but, he was involved and surely should be viewed in light of the results.

          Has any part of Australian rugby improved during that tenure?

          He we are in 2021 and all of a sudden he is now the world famous & mystical ‘coach whisperer’ and the key to all Tah’s woes – if the answer to the above are ‘yes’ – great & welcome to Tahland Mr Byrnes, but can any of the saige GAGR contributors answer ‘yes’ to any of the above – me thinks not.

          The article by the Oracle, in relation to Byrnes, is yet another example of those inside the rugby fraternity looking after their mates – how unusual.

          Edit – and if he’s so god damn good how did he end up with the world rugby powerhouse that is Cananadia?

        • Reds Revival

          Right on the money Hoss. Kafer wouldn’t recommend anyone that he is not personal friends with, and so the circle of nepotism, and jobs for the boys continues.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Bang on mate. Part of the problem not part of a solution

        • idiot savant

          The part of Australian rugby that improved under Cheik’s tenure was the part he didn’t have anything to do with – the Brumbies and the Reds coaching and player development.

          Kafe is quite good as an analyst of play on the field – why players do certain things, old coaching tips, action and reaction etc and then mostly about the backs. But beyond that there’s no evidence of competence. His work developing a national system of coaching was so slow that the QRU ended up releasing their own manual and videos as nothing was coming out of head office. And he’s wrong about Mick Byrne having lived his whole life in NSW. He spent a decade playing AFL in Victoria. A quick google would have told him that. There appears to be a certain kind of laziness in his approach.

        • Patrick

          Yep -the closer Chieka and the Tahs were to something, the worse it got, the further away they were, the better.

        • onlinesideline

          Canadian womens 7s isnt it ? (lucky bastard)

          Yeah I agree.
          Maybe he was responsible for that little wiggle along the ground we do now when someone gets tackled to gain a couple of meters.

          The Byrne Worm ? – hahah not funny

          Mate it very much is a job for the boys recommendation as you suggest. After making some good points and goes and says this.

          Its just too unrealistic and un street smart – typical Rod.

          Michel Cron was someone we should target but he spoke full Japanese when asked his interest levels for a Tah return and mentioned he gave his word, unlike a Mr Carlos Ghosn (pronounced “Gone”).. The Nissan guys asked security where he was and they said “Carlos Gone”

        • Yowie

          Quite a creative escape though for the ex Nissan boss.

        • onlinesideline

          If you are a midget and dont mind travelling in a cello case

        • Tah Tragic

          But wasn’t Kafer appointed by RA a while back to build pathways for homegrown coaches? He is basically saying he failed.

    • laurence king

      Makes for interesting reading.

      • Hoss

        Just confirms what many on here already knew & makes me even angrier. I hate being right so often, it’s a curse.

        • laurence king

          Makes one wonder if these inner city types from Sydney are all related in some unseemly way. All of them appear to be missing a chromosome here or there.

  • Custardtaht

    Day 2 of no Lattes. Cmon NSWRU, get your shit together, I miss my Lattes.

    • Yowie

      I see that David Pocock has sent you a message of support from the coal mining digger to which he is currently chained.

      • Crescent

        I chained myself to an Eastern Suburbs coffee machine in solidarity. Note to self – the steam wand leaves a nasty burn. Who would have thought a man-bun sporting barista would be so cruel!

      • Custardtaht

        I’ve been blown away by the support. Just this morning I got prayers from Izzy and the rebels in Myanmar even wished me well, saying they felt lucky they only had to oust a government and not the NSWRU board and senior administrators.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          That’s gold. I hear Issy has reached out to the board to try and get back in the team

        • Custardtaht

          Not surprised. Will be interesting to see the response

        • Reds Revival

          Amen to that.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Morning GAGR’s. Well day two of lockdown thanks to the ongoing incompetence of Qld Health. Never have I seen a more wretched hive of scum nor villany. We must be careful.
    – As groucho Marxs once said “Any club that would want me as a member I wouldnt want to join!” On that note Manetti shouldnt be let any where near the job of Tahs coach. He is part of the NSW rugby fraternity. A card carrying factional member! DO we think the culture of the Tah’s and NSW will change, with one of their factional matey potaties in charge? Here let me answer that for you! Fuck no. SHite Sheild again being served up as the panacea, to keep the leather patch wearing brigade happy. NSW failure to invest in NRC is one of the significant factors in this shit fight. But fuck them, let them go and recruit one of their sycophantic, golden knee pad wearing rah rah boys into the job.
    -Vunivalu out for a while. Sad to see. But I actually think with Steward coming in and the others being pushed out a slot creates a more stable back line. The speed and flash isnt there, but the meat and potatoes is. Lets see how they go.
    – I hope the games go ahead this weekend, as it looks like we will be in lockdown over easter so this will actually give me something to do.
    Over to you GAGR’s

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Mate that’s why I disagree with Arse Clown having a role in the Tahs setup. He will not be able to improve the culture because he’s part of the problem

      • Brisneyland Local

        I agree with you!

      • laurence king

        Well, there is that

    • idiot savant

      Shooting first and asking questions later this morning BL?

      Qld has the lowest Covid infection rate per 100,000 residents in Australia. If thats incompetence, there should be more of it.

      I think Manetti unfairly charged sir. He’s not Randwick or Sydney Uni. And he did have a stint as an assistant coach of the NRC Rams. He makes a good point about the Waratahs being obsessed with the schoolboy star project player pathway and not doing enough with players who prove themselves against men in the club system. The Reds have a lot of players who came through the Hospital Cup pathway. It builds depth and toughness. Look at Ryan Smith for example. There has got to be players like him in the SS system.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Not vacinating a nurse that works in the covid wards? that is stupidity. I worked at Qld health for a few years, and this is the true level of incompetence I saw on a daily basis. That incompetence is what lead me to quit my job there.

        Re the rugby, Manetti stated that lack of investment in Shite shield was the problem. The Hosiptal cup worked well for Qld, because they came up through that to NRC then to the reds. The jump from Shite shield to SR is too big. there must be a step inbetween for player development. But my problem is not MAnetti’s coaching credentials. There is no doubt that he has experience and is probably a good coach. The point is he is mired in the NSW rugby system. He is a paart of it. That will not allow him to bring the cultural change that is needed at the Tah’s. He is part of the culture. That is my issue

        • Reds Revival

          Manenti is the proverbial meat in the sandwich. He is damned if he does, and damned if he doesn’t. As you say BL, he certainly has the coaching credentials, but he has to say enough to convince his incompetent overlords that he is the man for the job, but not too much to get the crowd offside. It’s a fine line that he has to walk.
          Without having the NRC, he almost has to select from Shite Shield, because he doesn’t have enough cattle at his disposal, and they are going to struggle to attract the players that they need.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yeah agree. Lack of full participation in NRC has hurt NSW. And not having it now hurts Aus rugby. There is a very large step up between CLub and SR.

    • If you want a hive of scum of villainy, let me point you at our current government. To investigate whether there is any institutional racism the appointed someone who is not only Boris’ best mate, but has a ten-year track record of saying “there is no such thing of institutional racism.”

      It would be funny reading the ways he’s tied himself in notes cherry-picking the data to support his prejudged conclusion if is wasn’t so serious.

      Sorry, normal rugby service will be resumed soon.

      • Yowie

        A bit of a stain on Boris Johnson’s otherwise fine reputation…

        • can’t decide whether those are tears, or tears of laughter

      • Brisneyland Local

        Nah I get it. But I must admit the rugby this weekend cant come quick enough.

  • Yowie

    “Improving things like shoulder strength and balance to make better contact when tackling was one thing I worked at.”

    …. the TWO things I worked at are shoulder strength and balance…and ruthless efficiency…. the THREE things are shoulder strength, balance and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to the Brumbies…. The FOUR…no… *Amongst* the things…. Amongst the things I worked at…are such elements as shoulder strength, balance…. I’ll come in again.

    • To be fair he has been in QLD for a while

    • Damo

      No 2nd rower expects the Spanish Inquisition.

      • Yowie

        Biggles: In fact, those who do expect –

        Ximinez: Our chief weapons are…

        Biggles: Our chief weapons are…um…er…

        • Damo

          Fetch… the comfy chair!

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      He is a 2nd row mate. Reading and speaking English more better isn’t part of the job description and he doesn’t need to count for the line outs as they use names not numbers to throw to.

      • Yowie

        It’s because their nostrils are up in the thin air. Not enough oxygen to run the footoutofmouth cortex properly.

      • Keith Butler

        An unfounded slur on 2nd rows sir!

    • Keith Butler

      I warned you yesterday. Any more of your jesting and it’s card time.

  • GoMelbRebels

    I still can’t believe no one went with the headline “The Penney Dropped”. What a waste.

    • Da Munch
      • GoMelbRebels

        Thank God! I missed Monday’s news. All is right with the universe now.

        Thank you!

    • Yowie

      Rob Penney would have an inkling/shudder that such a headline was coming whenever he moves on from a job.

      Of course, not as much as Emily Seebohm would…

      • Custardtaht

        He doesn’t seem to be one for bleating after being given the shaft.

      • GeorgiaSatellite

        Took me a minute. Worth the wait.

      • Missing Link

        Poor Emily would have nightmares about being dropped from the swim team

        • Yowie

          Meanwhile various media editors pass-out from the endorphin-rush of writing that headline.

      • Keith Butler

        You think Penny had problems. Look at my surname and then remember On The Buses. “ I hate you Butler get that bus out”. Haunted for years.

  • donktec

    Feels like a random question, but can anyone confirm the game at aami on Saturday will be spectator free?

  • Reds Revival

    Best quote of the week;

    “Perhaps a change of perspective. It took them a few years to get there but the Tahs have finally produced a good NRC team”.

    • Yowie

      Gold. Who is that from?

      • Reds Revival

        It was a comment from MO on the other rugby forum (the lesser one).

Rugby
@NathW1997

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

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