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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s rugby news has the Wallabies accepting the learning curve, preparations for a midfield bomb attack, RWC madness and the Samoan standoff continuing.


Wallabies content with building

aac vs italyWallabies vice-captain Adam Ashley-Cooper has emphasised that the players are comfortable with the building process that the team is undergoing and believes that World Cup preparations will not be negatively affected by the dual responsibilities of Michael Cheika as both Waratahs and Wallabies coach.

Speaking of the European tour, 103 test veteran AAC said, “we’ve copped a few blows to the face, but in the bigger picture we’re tracking nicely…There are few little things to change, but we’re moving in the right direction.”

Back 3 ready for aerial attack

Wallabies' fullback, Israel Folau, fumbles the high ball under pressure from France's winger, Yoann Huget

The Wallabies will be expecting the English tactics to mirror the midfield bombs used successfully by Ireland and France. In order to stifle the Australian counter-attack, opposition teams have started launching bombs in the direction of five-eighth Bernard Foley, who shares a dual fullback defending position with Folau.

“We’ve had a backs’ meeting and that’s something we’ve addressed,” Foley said. “The idea is to vary up your positioning to try to nullify their kicks and try to make them do something different.”

Campese criticises RWC

David Campese has labelled the Rugby World Cup draw as “madness” in reference to the inclusion of England, Wales and Australia in the same pool. “It’s a bit like having Brazil, Argentina and Germany in the same pool at the football World Cup. It just would not happen,” Campese said.

The former Wallabies winger also said that the ARU were asking for too much from Michael Cheika, who is expected to hurry together what should be four years of preparations into one pre-World Cup year in charge.

Samoan PM dismisses complaints

Crawford in pursuit

Somoan PM and rugby chairman Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi has downplayed the crisis between the SRU and the players. The Samoan team had threatened to pull out of their Test match with England with demands of better pay and working conditions.

While the SRU have complained about the players being forced to pay for their own travel allowances and minimal budget during Test windows, Tuilaepa flippantly dismissed these concerns by telling players to focus on their play, saying, “if they are able to perform well then we will be able to raise the necessary sponsorships.”

 

  • brumby runner

    So Bernard Foley is playing a dual fullback role in defense and is being singled out by those nasty NH kickers. This is just one more area where Quade Cooper would be more effective. I would prefer, however, for our No 10 to defend in his rightful position and not have to be hidden.

    • Jacko

      For years now the AB’s have sought out Quade Cooper’s frailties under the high ball when shuffled back to fullback. It goes poorly. But we shouldn’t be concerned – boxing training can fix that.

      • Seb V

        But Cooper is better under the high ball then Foley.

        • and at defence…

        • bad ass

          And at kicks in general play. ..

        • Brad

          And attack

        • muffy

          and boxing… sorry… I just wanted to join in… I’ll get me coat

    • Observer

      What… because he’s taller or something?
      That might be the only reason.
      I would have thought the out of play winger should be sliding back allowing the full back to shift across.
      In my opinion anyone who can play the wing should be able to play fullback.
      With the current two play maker setup in the Wallabies, having the 10 fall back is not a bad option and will allow for extra counter attack possibilities when combined with the back 3.

      • brumby runner

        Presupposes he (the 10) can catch the high ball when it comes to him.

      • It is my opinion that there is such things in the modern game as wingers who are not good fullbacks and full back who is not a good winger. I know you say “should” but there is a bees dick in it much of the time. The ability to be a specialist wing or fb is more common eg. North, Howe, Ioane as aposed to band aid player who maybe doesn’t have the same impact, especially at international level. Eg, Harris, Beale, one or two kiwis. I would suggest you consider any possible current wallaby winger (or even Bernie or QC), place him at FB and generally, the team will be less effective. Generally it will be a hang on moment each time they are tested.

        How we have convenient short memories. Remember the criticism QC got when he was defending at 15? It was a tactical move and it paid off largely for Qld and maybe to a lesser extent, Australia.

        I thought there Foley and QCs games were miles apart on Saturday. Quades may have a skip in his step after a long season for Foley but he definitely seemed to wake up the D on each carry.

        • Observer

          It’s interesting isn’t it.
          There are some that I would suggest transition well between wing and full back, others from wing to centre.
          No doubt skill set comes into it, but I think the body type also has an influence.
          Ioane was great on the wing and plays well in the centres, but I can’t say I expect him to be a good full back.
          Where as someone like Lachie Turner I feel is more a wing/fullback than a centre.
          Then you have someone like AAC who can cover nearly the entire backline but I would think of him being a better centre/full back than a wing.
          I like having specialist players, but I expect there to be some versatility so that with limited bench space or unfortunate injuries we aren’t up the creek.
          With regards to Quade’s game last weekend, I thought he and the other substitutes did up the ante but it was more noticeable for the others having a bad day and what you should hope to get when you bring on a fresh player.
          I want to see the wallabies get out of the gates strongly.
          Then in the second, we bring on players to wipe the opposition off the park. Go fast, then faster.
          I reckon Quade can do that and bring him on from the bench around the 50 minute mark or as a strategic half time replacement sounds really good to me. (along with a bunch of other players for the same reasons)

  • Ella fella

    Nice try Campo but you may want to check your research. The latest IRB rankings have England 4, Australia 5, Wales 6. The latest FIFA rankings have your referenced Germany 1, Argentina 2 and Brazil 6. Sadly there is a gulf between what you wish for and what now is reality. Blame it on your boy Ewen McKenzie. Oh, hang on a minute….

    • Rob G

      It would kind of be like having england, italy and uraguay in one group in soccer….or spain, chile and netherlands……..wait??

    • handles

      Well, whether the latest rankings are significant is debatable, but in any case, with four groups, why are there three in the top 6 in one group? My elementary grasp of maths would seem to indicate that teams ranked 1 to 8 should be split over the four groups, maybe even, you know, two in each?

      Criticizing Campo is par for the course, I know, but just because you happen to know the FIFA rankings and he may not doesn’t diminish his point.

      • They were 3, 5 & 9 in the rankings when the draw was done in December 2012. They actually have 3 bands that they make the first 3 teams in each pool from (1-4, 5-8, 9-12). Maybe there’s a case for doing the draw closer to the tournament but then again you have to know the matches in enough time to organise grounds and sell tickets etc.

        • Campo wrong

          exactly it was Wales that caused this problem by being ranked #9 at the time of the draw. Normally they are ranked in the top 8 but must have been on a bad run of losses back then. They can’t really do the draw much closer to the games

        • Christopher

          Highlighted by loss to Samoa!

    • TJ

      Based on recent results Campo, consider the Wallabies fortunate. They could easily have been slotted into Pool D and be facing up playing Ireland and France. Thank God AAC says we are tracking nicely with only a few little things to change, otherwise there would be genuine grounds for concern.

    • HK Red

      I agree with “Handles”, Campo is a total pill and is there to be criticised, but he makes a valid point. The three best teams in Pool A are in the top 6 in the world, currently ranked 4, 5 & 6. Three best in Pool B are ranked 2, 8 & 10; Pool C ranked 1, 9 & 13; Pool D ranked 3, 7 & 14. The whole idea of the draw should be to get the Top 8 in the world split across the four Pools and then the rest of the positions are made up through qualifiers. Pool A definitely has a skew towards the upper range of the Top 8 teams.
      This is not meant to be a slight on Samoa or Argentina, but Pools B and C are a joke, with those two teams being likely gifted, at the very least, a Qtr-Final berth.
      Unfortunately it is what the IRB, in their infinite wisdom, have given us and it’s just up to the Wallabies and supporters to knuckle down and make sure that we get through the Pool stages. I would suggest that if Aus or Wales get knocked out in the Pool stage, then not much will be made of this. If on the other hand, England get knocked out before the Qtr-Finals, there’ll be an inquiry.

      • Train Without A Station

        I believe that is the goal. But when the draw was put together, Wales was ranked 9th, hence being in the group with England and Australia.

        There is not a huge game from 8-10 at times so there is always going to be a pool with a team that was at one point ranked 9th or 10th but could go as high at 5th.

  • gel

    Totally sick of reading “something we’ve talked about in training this week” followed by the exact same deficiency in the following week’s match. This idiosyncracy is not exclusive to the wallabies either – it is found in many press statements across many australian sports. Discussing it or talking about it is not addressing it Bernard. It is blatantly obvious that they do not actually practice these basics at training in order to fix it because they (and the other under-performing australian sports men and women who trot out such tripe), continue to fail in executing what they say the have “talked about this week”.

    Here’s a thought: shut the fcuk up and train harder so you win and don’t have to answer such questions.

    • John Tynan

      The cricket equivalent is a scoring run of Duck. 2. Duck. 4.
      “He’s bowling/batting well in the nets….”

    • Seb V

      Post of the year.

    • DrewB

      I get what you are saying, but journos throw mic’s in front of these guys, and the game needs coverage. I’m not sure what else they should be saying.

    • Luke Amasi

      Its just how professional sportsmen communicate. We need Nick Cummins back!

      • gel

        No – not professional. It is how under-performing sportsmen communicate.

        The ones that win do the hard work at training (instead of just “talking about it”) and execute their skills properly don’t have to answer such questions.

        The wallabies are not alone in this regard, but they (and the other under-performers in the Australian sporting landscape) constant “talk about this” and “we discussed that” and ” we spoke about being up for” week in and week out and continue to be poor to woeful at executing the very very basics of what they are paid to do.

        They are not professional – if they were they would act like it and train properly (the evidence is clear that they are not doing so).

    • Joeleee

      Talking about problems with the media and practising skills to overcome them aren’t mutually exclusive. Players need to talk to the media in order to maintain continued coverage of the game and they need to talk about issues in order to garner interest. I think it’s more likely that the problems the Wallabies have are actually very complicated and take more than a week to fix, rather than the possibility the entire squad is just talking about their problems and subsequently not trying to fix them.

    • A reactionary option from a team still reeling from Beale drama etc. Another reason man management is more an issue now than before. It needs to be sorted.

  • John Tynan

    hehe – a back’s meeting! Hardly the forum to talk about rugby!

    • There would have much more discussion about cookies if a forward chimed in.

  • Drobbie

    Calm down Campo. In soccer terms you’re probably, well, Australia.

  • Drobbie

    Wow. Just wow.

  • Jacko

    Laughing a more apt description Kathy. Quade Cooper makes me laugh. I should be more grateful to the bloke for the endless humour.

    • usacenter

      Level of discussion has dropped off dramatically recently both here and theroar. Jacko here is a prime example.

  • Tom Cavanagh

    That’s some vintage Kathy

  • Bill

    AAC was backing Cheika to cope with the workload but looking at the sort of itinary he suggested…Cheika’s going to have to go on a year long methamphetamine binge to follow it. Art of delegation/diplomacy time, which might be complicated, or might not, by the circumstances surrounding Michael’s ascent. I’m sure every Super rugby coach would want to give their players the best chance to get to the rwc squad however.

    • jamie

      I thought he already did meth

      • Bill

        I’m jaundiced but not that jaundiced. I think Cheika’s got a lot to contribute, he was always our next coach for mine. But the time frame I’d envisaged was reviewing Link’s position at the end of the rugby cycle the season after the world cup. Unfortunately we’ve seen some queue jumping. And I’m starting to see a level of disingenuousness(‘apolitical’, ‘…I know nothing..’ or the corker ‘..if only it all been dealt with at the time’) that without all the recent stuff I’d just put down to complexity of character and getting on with things, but am tending to think of as twofaced now. Hopefully events play out longer and some stuff happens away from the scoreboard to allow me some opportunity to regain some faith in the way things are done in wallaby world. Even if things don’t improve right at the moment he’s effectively last man standing…hopefully Larkham, Stiles, Foley, McGahon and Graham all kick on. I’d quite like to see a Larkham Stiles combo if they’ve given a couple more years to incubate.

    • muffy

      At the risk of repeating the same old refrain, AC doesn’t see a problem with it as the Wallabies and the Tahs are intrinsically linked. There are a few guest stars, but if I was a professional player looking to play for the Wallabies, I know my best chance would be to have MC coaching and be putting on blue jumper every week.

      • Bill

        The only way I see Cheika doing both jobs even halfarsed is to take a much more hands off approach at the tahs and trying to get control of a training session a week rotating through the franchises, and that’s just madness. But how else do you avoid the idea of running a system that’s got one rule for one lot and another for the rest? Be careful what you wish for indeed. The only other option is he is hands off for the wallabies and says to the other players ”trust me, Kurtley did/does” (ok, not sure that’ll be confidence inspiring). The other teams need to go out and belt the shit out of the tahs next year, should be fun.

  • Steve Thomas

    Speaking of the European tour, 103 test veteran AAC said, “we’ve copped a few blows to the face, but in the bigger picture we’re tracking nicely…There are few little things to change, but we’re moving in the right direction.”

    On a relative basis though Adam, everyone else moving a little quicker. They have been all year.

    • Train Without A Station

      Exactly. If everybody is moving ahead of you, in real terms you’re going backwards.

      We’re glad you’re enjoying what could be equal to the Wallabies worst EOYT result ever AAC. Perhaps enjoyment isn’t the key factor in a winning team?

      Kind of similar to the strong player support Tim Nielson got as coach of the Australian cricket team.

  • harro

    Class!

  • Jonny B

    Man crush here on QC Kathy? I’d back you to complete more tackles.

    • brax

      You haven’t been watching him the past couple of years have you.

  • trent

    AAC is quoted as saying that the team “believes that World Cup preparations will not be negatively affected by the dual responsibilities of Michael Cheika as both Waratahs and Wallabies coach.”

    I’m not sure that anyone outside of the Waratahs and outside of the regular starting 15 would agree with you AAC. Cheika is going to be pretty focused on the Tahs and won’t have access to critical time with and information for the other 4 teams. It’s not Cheika’s fault but it is a fact that he is a opposition franchise coach until the last day the Waratahs ate alive in the comp. That doesn’t bode well for equal opportunity for all Super Rugby players in Contention for a squad call up and match selection.

    And I’d expect anyone in the squad to say the same thing to the press so this is not a dig at AAC either.

    It’s a terrible situation that is what it is. But let’s not put our heads in the sand and think that it won’t have any influence. How can it not? There’s only so many hours in the day and successfully being head coach of a super team is a full time job. And one that had him based in NSW except when he is the traveling opposition coach for Australian derbies. Not exactly a time when home teams are going to want him popping in to check out the form and fitness of players as the Wallabies Head Coach now is it?

    • Sammy

      I completely agree.

      Looking at the dates –
      Super Rugby final round is June 13. If the tahs make it all the way to the final its July 4.
      The Rugby Championship starts 2 weeks later, July 17 and runs until August 15
      Then the first round of the World Cup is on 18 September.

      How is he going to have enough time to switch from Tahs to Wallabies and be thoroughly prepared in just 2 (up to 4 if no finals in Super 15) weeks before the RC starts?? The Rugby Championship should be a finalising time, almost like the final rehearsal before the WC, but it feels like it will still be the auditions.

      He is either not going to be able to commit 100% to the Tahs because he will already have to be planning and thinking about the WC, or go in under prepared. As good as some people say Cheika is, I don’t believe he is Superman.

      He will spend the first 6 month of the year seeing every player, apart from the Waratahs, as opposition, working out how to beat them and null their influence on the field. Then all of a sudden he has a couple of weeks to be able to turn that around and try and work out how to use their strengths. I just don’t see that going into the WC with a part time National coach is ideal. I had a feeling as soon as it was announced he would be filing both roles that there could be issues.

      • brumby runner

        Maybe not Superman but will need to be Mandrake the Magician.

      • trent

        And he is only going to be thinking of the other Australian Franchise players, even as opposition, twice in the entire season. The rest of the time they will be out of sight and out of mind as he does his job for the Waratahs.

        It is so unworkable that is is tragic. Accepting a poor Spring Tour under the circumstances is one bitter pill to swallow. Accepting a RWC reeking of poor preparation, odd selections and any other limitation due to the the same ‘under the circumstances’ justification is not a bitter pill it’s the whole pill bottle and it’s breaking in my throat!

        Australian Rugby is in dire straights and we need to be successful to be building the game in an increasingly desperate market. I don’t have the answers but I still don’t think that Cheika in these compromised circumstances was the answer. I said it before he was announced and I stand by it. Cheika 100% focused on the Wallabies. Sure mate. Go for it. The Waratahs coach who suddenly morphs into the Wallabies coach with a few weeks to prepare? Who can’t help but know and favour his own players? It’s just a nightmare for everyone involved and even more heartbreaking for players who luck out in selections for the squad because there will always be huge questions about bias.

        Sorry to be so down about this. I just foresee this being a mess of huge proportions and like a rain crash I don’t see how it ca be avoided

        • trent

          Sorry typos. Training crash I can’t see how it can be avoided

    • Phil

      Trent,I agree it is not an ideal situation,but Cheika does have some pretty handy back up at the Tahs with Grey and Gibson,so may be able to devote more time away from the Tahs.Anyway,it’s all been done now so we really just have to see how he handles it.Doubt if another change in Wallaby coaching would be ideal at this stage.

  • Bill

    Re backs meeting to deal with aerial attack, perhaps they could all run back and form a cheerleaders pyramid to catch the ball. I wonder if Cheika remembers how good Genia is at fielding high balls. General rule of thumb is to be making them react to you rather than the reverse so I doubt we’ll see a change.

  • C’mon Campo, the RWC is drawn in the same way as the football World Cup based on the current rankings at the time of drawing. The 12 automatic qualifiers were separated into 3 groups (1-4, 5-8, 9-12) and one team from each group would take the first 3 spots in each pool. It was just unlucky that Australia was (3), England (5) & Wales (9). It could just as easily been us, Samoa (7) & Tonga (11) in the same pool but unfortunately it didn’t work out that way.

    • Bobas

      I know, Netherlands, Spain and Chile were in our world cup group this year and the FootballWC has 32 teams in pools of 4 not 20 teams in pools of 5.
      Just got to take the smart option and bet Fiji and Uruguay won’t make it past the group stages.

  • Whig

    I’m sick of “building”. We’ve been “building” for about 10 fucking years now haven’t we? Do we have the same construction team as the Greek Olympics or something? When are we gonna finish this skyscraper and move into the penthouse!

  • Jay-c

    Please correct me if I’m wrong kathy griffin, but I believe you have previously specified your abhorrence towards the Beale affair and it’s apparent sexism and yet now we see you using a gay slur to attack another poster?
    I hope I’m wrong

    • bad ass

      She didn’t say anything about gay people.

  • Keith Butler

    No need to worry as our kick chase has been pretty pathetic. I expect a close game. If the Aussie pack can achieve anything close to parity then you have the threequarters to win the game. I’ll be glued to Foxtel at 1.00 on Sunday ready for the fireworks.

  • Mr T.

    So, the Wallabies apparently caused several thousand Euros worth of damage to the dressing rooms in Ireland.

    http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/irfu-may-bill-wallabies-over-dressing-room-damage-299588.html

    They’re just such a lovable team right now.

    • brumby runner

      Which support staff has lost the confidence of the dressing room and been thrown out through the closed door?

    • DrewB

      Sensational journalism. The IRFU might bill the ARU, not the Wallabies. The damage was not caused by players, but they get their names dragged into it.

      • Bill

        Sensational pricing. 8000 euros for a fing door! I think thats probably the IRFU saying ok, you want to throw a tantrum? Well, here’s the thing, were they sound proof doors or just regular doors? Because the sound proof ones don’t talk. If they really are 8000 euros I’d be wanting them replaced on warranty because they shouldn’t be breaking.

  • Hitcho

    I’m sorry…… what now?

  • I understand where he’s coming from, Izzy never seems to be there to make a covering tackle post linebreak. Super talent but still learning to be a defensive fullback.

  • Hitcho

    I think he’s still learning full stop. People have to remember Izzy is essentially new to rugby and its a steep learning curve. Most top level players have been playing since U7’s. I wouldn’t say Izzy is terrible nor AAC.

  • Brad

    If only Chris Latham or Matt Burke would be used to mentor his positional play and skills, starting with kicking!

  • Hitcho

    Don’t be sorry just watch more closely. The dominant kicking game of the opposition you speak of is mostly due to very good placement of the kick and some poor communication on the part of the Wallabies. I’ve lost count of the times Izzy has had to come over the top of his own team mates to take the ball. On a couple of those times it’s been Foley and Phipps but a lot of the time its the loose forwards, and you want to talk about poor positional play.

    What makes it look worse is our return kicking game. Now that’s atrocious. The opposition (unlike the Wallabies) place their kicks based on the play. We just kick it straight down the oppositions throat.

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