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Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s rugby news has Hooper wanting to start with Pocock, Folau praises Giteau, Wallabies forming their identity and Concern over Victor Matfield. 


Hooper Wants to Start With Pocock

Michael Hooper has expressed a desire to start alongside David Pocock in this weekend’s clash against the Springboks.

There has been a lot of debate surrounding who will start in the number seven jersey and whether the Wallabies lineout can afford to have both Hooper and Pocock starting together.

“I don’t see why not,” Hooper said.

“[I] really enjoy playing with David – the times a couple of years ago when we did play on the sides together,” Hooper said

“His skill set is fantastic and I think it would be complementary. But then again there’s other guys who would miss out because of that who bring some really good stuff. Coach’s decision and really hard for him to make.”

Folau Praises Giteau

Israel Folau has praised Matt Giteau by comparing him to Rugby League great Darren Lockyer.

Folau played with Lockyer at the Broncos and for Queensland and he highlighted the wisdom, presence and respect the two players shared.

“He reminds me of Darren Lockyer and my time at the Broncos,” Folau said.

 

“It’s just his leadership and a presence felt around the group that’s great to be around.

“He doesn’t have to say too much but you can tell guys around him have that respect for him.

“It’s the same presence I felt at the Broncos with Locky.”

Wallabies Forming Identity

Wallabies lock Rob Simmons believes the Wallabies match against South Africa will be crucial in establishing an identity and making the fans proud.

“It’s very important for us as a team to start building our own identity and putting our best foot forward from the start, and show the rest of Australia and the world how we want to play this game,” Simmons said.

“Something we’ve worked on for 12 months now is to find out exactly what we want to be. There’s no ifs or buts we have this identity, anyone can come into this group and they’ll know what we’re about and what they have to do to fit in. We started that during the spring tour. This weekend is all about us trying to put that out to the public.”

When asked about the slow ticket sales at Suncorp Stadium Simmons said: “If we get a good performance in at the weekend, the ticket sales will change.”

Concern for Matfield

Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer has expressed concern over the fitness of veteran lock Victor Matfield.

“Victor has to come through another 11 games, that’s how many there are until the World Cup final, and that is my one remaining concern (about the way the squad is shaping),” Meyer said.

“That is the only big question mark I have around the team. We keep working with other guys to jump at 5 but that’s the only box I’m worried about ticking.

“People don’t realise what a big influence Victor has. At the World Cup, taking one stolen lineout or one kick-off can be the difference between winning and losing.

“We really hope that Pieter-Steph will get back to his best once he comes back from his knee injuries, but he’s only played a couple of tests.

“Lood de Jager played a bit last year and is a good prospect (who can jump at the front and the middle) but he also hasn’t played a lot, and Eben Etzebeth isn’t really a No 5.”

  • Stuey

    Would be interesting to see how the question was posed to Hooper. I think no matter what, he gave the only sensible answer. If he in any way indicated it wouldn’t be good for them to both start together he is either

    A) admitting Pocock is better than him, therefore likely to start with him on bench,
    or
    B) saying that he is better that Pocock and will be starting, with Poey on the bench.

    No way would it be A and if he did B he would make some fans pretty angry and come across as pretty arrogant.

    Sometimes I wonder why journos even bother asking players about stuff like that.

    • Nutta

      Couple of quick observations:

      1. Hoopers response is light years ahead of how he handled delicate questions 12mths ago. A bit of maturity there? Or perhaps good media coaching? I’ll be sensible and say both.

      2. Journos create these questions to manufacture a story when the news day is slow. Just ask Alex McK and Cam Smith…

      3. I reckon Poey is starting and Hoops is coming on at 60min to replace him as 7 and Moore as Capt with very specific coaches briefing ringing in his ears.

      • TheMountain

        I really can’t see it shifting the game too much, both are very gifted athletes that would walk into any other team in the world. what matters is our game plan and The set piece which leads me to think that starting both is a red herring.

        • PiratesRugby

          Really? Any team? Say, the Soringboks or ABs? You think they’d pick a 7 who is a nonentity at the ruck. Are you serious??? This guy might get a game for the Eagles or the Canucks. Only Australia thinks a forward is valuable because he runs in the backs.

        • TheMountain

          Uh, heard of this guy called Kieran Read? I hear he’s alright…

        • jamie

          You seem to underestimate his value at the rucks and in the line out.

        • Phil

          Did not have long to wait for the usual response from the usual suspect.
          I am so glad you have much more rugby wisdom than all those who have coached Hooper to know what a dud player he is.Not sure why Cheika hasn’t called you in as a special advisor on selection.

      • Robson

        Yes journos can be tricky, but players just need to remember that picking the team is not their job and simply say it like that.

        • rapha92

          Players can’t just blow off questions like that. As ambassadors of the game they are obliged to provide journalists with something to write about rather then short, no risk answers. it is a difficult art to master for a young player to offer a mature answer such as hoopers, that both provides a story that generates interest in the game and does not ruffle any feathers, or bring the wallabies into disrepute.

    • Robson

      Or he could have just said that it was the coaches job to make those decisions not his. Why the embellishments.

      • Chris M

        The question was, apparently, something like “Can you and Pocock start together?” To which his response was “I don’t see why not” and a qualifier about it being a tough one for the coaches.
        At some point, you’ve got to give him some credit for dealing with a question well.

        • Agree – if the players don’t answer questions then they’ll get no press at all. Need to say something to remain relevant and sell some tickets this weekend

        • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

          I’m okay with players answering questions and sometimes not being all that polished at it, they’re only human after all.
          Rugby in Oz needs all the help it can get, and for me hearing the coach and players being honest is a step in the right direction.

      • Chinese Dave

        I agree! God forbid, a player actually say something benign that might closely reflect his opinion. Keep away from the “embellishments” and toe the corporate line. He should have said “the coach makes the decision, regardless of who is picked, the boys are all pumped and the boys will do a good job playing for our country”. Note the double usage of “the boys” as per the guidelines for the inane professional athlete. Also note the faux patriotic “playing for our country”. 10/10, would attend interview again!

        • DReido

          You should have added “full credit to the boys for a hard training session this week”

  • PiratesRugby

    Hooper says that Pocock’s game is “Complementary” or in other words Pocock is effective at the ruck where Hooper isn’t.

    • TheMountain

      and Hooper tackles like a demon while making tackle-busts like he’s holding a television. We have all seen Hooper be very effective at the ruck, but recently Cheika has been using him in different ways

      • PiratesRugby

        Well, we’ll see on Saturday.

        • TheMountain

          no doubt

    • Robson

      Hooper didn’t have to make a single comment about the relative merits of himself and Pocock. That’s not his job.

    • Dally M

      And there’s the ‘B’ side to the record you have been playing all year long.

    • Sambo

      haha love it

    • Chinese Dave

      Well, hooper makes far more pilfers in the ruck than you make original posts that aren’t the same tiresome thing over and over and over.

  • Robson

    I noticed that Victor Matfield was taking a puff on an asthma inhaler prior to a recent game. In itself that’s not a biggie, because a lot of players have bronchial issues which they have to medicate themselves for. But I wondered whether Victor’s condition has deteriorated a bit. I hope not. He’s a marvelous player, leader and a real gentleman too.

    • Joeleee

      A lot of players do that to improve air intake as well, absent any actual issues. Plenty of athletes get a doctors certificate for asthma inhalers, so that they can use them under a “Therapeutic Use Exemption” and gain some sort of an improvement in lung capacity/breathing.

      • Robson

        Yes, that’s right. When I was coaching I was always given an inhaler or two to bring on to the paddock at halftime. Sometimes they were used – sometimes they weren’t.

  • Hitcho

    I can see why Falou is comparing Gits to Lockyer. Gits is sporting an impressive attitude. “It’s not about my personal aspirations for the World Cup, it’s about value adding to the team and earning the respect of the squad. If I can’t value add I shouldn’t be there”.

    Haven’t heard this type of statement in a while. I like it.

    • TheMountain

      almost don’t believe it’s Giteau…

  • sugarwookie

    How is there nothing here about Shane Watson being dropped? ;)

    • stivo

      I was going to type something, but had to get around Watsons front pad first, then my comment got sent for review.

  • Dally M

    I don’t really care which one of them starts as long as they are both in the match day 23. They both bring requisite talents to the team and will complement the way Cheika wants to either start or finish the game.
    I also wouldn’t be reading too much into who starts & who sits for the first 2 matches as it seems Cheika wants to try out different combinations and players to see who can do what with the game style he wants to play. He will then settle on a starting 15 for the 2 games against the Darkness & leading into the RWC.
    I haven’t been this excited about a Wallaby team announcement for a long time. The last time Link killed that off by naming Beale at 10, lets hope Cheika doesn’t disappoint us.

    • brumby runner

      Worst mistake Link ever made. First two tests against the ABs and once he picked Beale for the first he was then really locked into playing him again in the second or admit his folly by picking him in the first instance. At least Cheika has a couple of tests to play around with selections before the ABs this year. I can’t see him being too adventurous against the Saffas though, so expect the team for this week to be one with few surprises.

      • Chinese Dave

        I know this will rile some people up, but I don’t think Cheika is the kind of person who would pick someone again just to avoid looking like he made a mistake, and I DO think Link is that kind of person. Regardless, I hope the closest Beale comes to playing is as a utility sub, I just don’t think he’s number 1 or even 2 in any position on the field. On second thought, fuck that shit, we’ve been picking utilities too many times who are average at many things instead of good at a few things, it’s time we stopped!

        • Graeme

          Beale would be useful on a 6/2 bench since he can play every position outside of 9.

    • Davo

      I agree that the games against Boks and Pumas are a great opportunity for experimentation. If we lose either of these games, but gain valuable insights about the team most likely to win RWC, that’s not too high a price to pay. Once we get to the AB games its time to pick and stick.
      Let’s throw Giteau, Mitchell, Quade & Genia in ASAP so they can sink or swim. Let’s try Kurtley on the wing, Hooper at 12, Kurudrani at 12 and Pocock at 6. Let’s put Skelton and Arnold in the 2nd row together. Then the “what ifs” and “if onlys” become “known knowns” (with apologies to Donald Rumsfeld) and we can move forward.

      • jamie

        Pocock at 6 would only work if Fardy and Arnold or Simmons and Arnold are in the line out. And id argue Fardy in the starting XV is good. He’s not an impact type of player.

      • I Should be Coach

        It’s the unknown unknown that’s going to hurt.

      • Joy

        “Let’s throw Giteau, Mitchell, Quade & Genia in ASAP so they can sink or swim. ”

        Are you new to rugby?

  • bad ass

    Pocock and Hooper are indeed complimentary. Having the two together in the 15 will allow Hooper to concentrate on the back line plays taking the ball in front of Kurindrani (who clearly wouldn’t know what to do with the pill if he received it) while Pocock does the work in the forwards.

  • jamie

    No one has ruled Hooper out for taking a wing spot. He’d be our best winger to take on the Bus Savea

  • ols

    a bit of liberalism with the Hooper artilce title here.

    Clearly he was asked if he would play or like to- “I don’t see why not,” Hooper said.
    a bit different from saying he ‘wants’ to.

  • Simon

    I wouldn’t say the take-up of tickets has exactly been ‘slow’ for the Springbok game. I tried to book tickets in the afternoon of the first day they opened for general sales and the good seats in the good sections of the stadium were already all gone. I could have paid full price for a seat in the nosebleeds right on the tryline, but that was all. That was weeks ago. So there was obviously the usual scramble for the good seats.

  • Bobas

    If the South Africans don’t want Matfield him can we pick him? I’m happy to trade them Dean Mumm…

    • riaan

      I know we Afrikaners are dumb, but we’re not THAT dumb. lol :P

  • Chinese Dave

    I thought Naholo was Fijian? Please don’t tell me he plays for the ABs…

  • Mart

    I reckon it’s worth a shot. A back 3 of Taqele , Mitchell and Folau would be well balanced and very attack focused.

    We’ll probably see AAC, Tomane and Folau… Tomane’s been in good form But AAC on a wing is a waste

  • Patrick

    I’d really rather not see Taqele used against him… !!

    He’d be a lane marker for the ABs, not much more.

  • Joy

    Savea is one of the worst defenders in Super Rugby missing 2 out of 5 tackles. Take note and use it.

  • Chris M

    One of us needs their sense of smell checked. Smells nothing like that to me.

  • Dally M

    He doesn’t yet, but will have after the game on Friday night.
    Mr T is Fijian as well, so people in glass houses…….

  • Chinese Dave

    I wasn’t throwing stones as much as hoping… Their Fijian is way better than ours :(

  • Dally M

    Lol….they always are.
    Even when they play shite for us and we send them on their way they get their act together and come back to play against us ala Nadolo!

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