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Wenesday’s Rugby News

Wenesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s rugby news has the Wallabies taking it one game at a time, an enticing offer for Quade, doping allegation in France and Matfield moving to England.


Focus on Fiji

wallabies scrum sio moore

Stephen Moore has said that his team has no concern for the incessant ‘Pool of Death’ references, as they remain totally focused on their first-round opponents Fiji. “We have to be on right from the start of the tournament. That’s what our preparation is geared for,” Moore said.

The Pacific Islanders have been largely an afterthought in the debate over which two of England, Wales and Australia will progress out of Pool A at the tournament. A 47-18 humbling of Canada on Sunday in their final outing before they meet hosts England in the tournament opener would have given their pool rivals some pause for thought, however.

Massive overseas offer for Quade

quade cooper

Toulon have made further concessions to ensure that Quade Cooper joins the team next year. The French club will now allow the Wallaby playmaker to compete in Olympic Sevens if he agrees to honour his commitment to join Toulon after the World Cup through to the end of the 2016/17 season.

At the same time, Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal said that if Cooper did not join his club next year after signing a two-year deal, he would sue Cooper and the ARU for “millions of euros”. The Reds flyhalf has not made any definitive comments on his future for some time, deferring questions about the subject to after the World Cup

Toulon face doping allegations

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A judicial investigation has been opened in Marseille, targeting pharmacies suspected of illegally supplying Toulon players with medication. According to radio station RTL, “antibiotics, analgesics, but also anabolic steroids” are believed to have been given to players from the triple Europeans champions.

Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal denied that Toulon are being investigated for doping allegations, instead asserting that the investigation is connected to social security fraud and the use of fake prescriptions at local pharmacies, with none of these breaches being actually undertaken by his team. “At the beginning of last season we had an anti-doping test of every single player of the RCT two days before the start of the season. And there was no doping and there is no doping,” he said.

Matfield joins English club

Waratahs v Bulls 2014 Keith McInnes KMA3394

South Africa’s veteran lock Victor Matfield has joined English Premiership side Northampton, the club said on Tuesday. Matfield, the most capped Springbok with 123 international appearances, will join up with his new club after playing at the Rugby World Cup, which starts in England later this month.

Matfield, 38, retired after the 2011 World Cup, but after two seasons as a coach with the Bulls returned to the game last year. “I join Saints to make the best contribution I possibly can and I have a genuine desire to hopefully play an instrumental role in a team effort, with the aim of lifting silverware in both the Aviva Premiership and the European Rugby Champions Cup,” he said.

  • questioning

    I have a sneaky suspicion between Chiliboy and Toulon there’s more doping in our sport then we’d like to think. With so many sports displaying a lot of doping it’s silly to think rugby players have higher ethical standards just because we love the game.
    Bodies keep getting bigger, hits keep getting harder, and recovery keeps getting quicker. It’s more nuanced than that, but still. Suspect.

    • Nutta

      Agree. To think we are sanctified or special in some way is idiotic. A criminal is still a criminal because they haven’t been caught otherwise they are a convict. Police forces and rules (in the shape of WADA etc) are always a step or 3 behind the criminal.

      • questioning

        Well, whilst drug users are obviously technical criminals, I’d like to think that it falls into a grey area ethically and morally.
        In powerlifting and bodybuilding for example, the ‘don’t take drugs, but we will never test you’ system means it’s perfectly acceptable to juice and everyone knows it (even if they say they don’t in interviews, we all know).
        Sports like baseball and cycling when ‘everyone is doing it’ are a bit more grey.
        In rugby it’s probably universally wrong, but I have no doubt there’s plenty of people doing it.

        • Nutta

          Criminal, grey-man, banana, sauerkraut – call them what you like
          Da Lawz Is Da Lawz. You choose to partake in an activity you agree to abide by its structure & protocol (or not). In Law or Out Law.

    • bad ass

      The same can be said about the officiating of big matches.

    • Fatflanker

      I’ve been firmly convinced for years that doping is nigh on systematic amongst some of our more ‘forward-oriented’ oppositions. Look to the countries where pressure is applied on school-age players to get as big and as strong as possible – above all else – and join the dots. The smarter abusers will not get caught either unless testing is systematic from elite school level onwards. Unlike the bad old days of bodybuilder freak excess, the gains can be brought on reasonably gradually and permanently too, without substantial risk of side effects.

      • questioning

        You don’t get to be Ronnie Coleman through consistency and good diet.
        There’s not a doubt in my mind Eben Etzebeth is on something. He came into professional level so young and so big. Sure, it’s genetics, but it’s genetics plus something else.

  • Pedro

    If I was Quade’s agent I would hold out for a better offer. Toulon are coming off desperate.

  • bad ass

    Just wondering why Toulon are not chasing Foley with a massive big money deal and concessions?

    • dave

      Not as good obviously

      • Chinese Dave

        Clearly the point bad ass was (unsuccessfully) trying to make. Even you spelling it out on your anonymous account leaves it unsuccessfully made.

        • bad ass

          Untrue. The comment was made to hear opinions and generate discussion. I’m interested in hearing what every one who Is backing Foley for 10 thinks about the lack of European interest and in him, and why Toulon are aggressively pursuing Cooper (if he’s so bad a player). I don’t need to push the point that Cooper is a better option than Foley because those that believe otherwise won’t be convinced by what I say. Also wanted to read something funny by Nutta on the subject.

        • Chinese Dave

          In other words, you’re asking the people who think Foley is better than Cooper to explain why he isn’t getting offers while Cooper is. Just another angle on an exceedingly repetitive and tiresome argument.

        • bad ass

          I wouldn’t mind your attack on me if there was something funny in your comment. However, your words are almost a boring as Foleys game. Please stop. Please.

        • Braveheart81

          Foley signing a new contract back in April might have something to do with it.

          Cooper reportedly signed a contract with Toulon earlier this year and is now trying to get out of it.

          Who knows whether Cooper was Toulon’s first choice? Presumably once he signed they assumed he would play for them and didn’t pursue anyone else. The only reason that he is being ‘aggressively pursued’ is because he is trying to get out of the contract.

          Without doubt Cooper is a bigger name than Foley in world rugby and generates more interest.

    • Braveheart81

      He’s already signed a contract to play in Japan and Australia.

    • does a player as boring without a story fit into Toulon’s profile? nope… yaaawwwnnnn….

      • Nutta

        So Toulon can buy KB then. Great back story with plenty of inches in it for the journo’s and a high probability of giving more in future (he got the “I’ve learned my lessons” media re-run yesterday so that means yet another gleaming example of idyllic public behaviour has either already occurred or is about to). Plenty of hype. Happy to see him go and best of luck to him.

    • harro

      Yeah, or Dan Carter

      • bad ass

        Dan Carter was granted special leave from the all blacks to play in Europe and has been payed big bucks over there. What are you on about.

        • harro

          I’m on about the same thing as you. That Toulon’s lack interest in Dan Carter implies that Quade is a better player than him. It’s pretty straightforward, isn’t it?

        • bad ass

          Toulon would kill to get Dan Carter. Still not sure what your taking about Mrs Foley.

        • harro

          I’ll spell it out then. I was making ridiculous statements to point out how ridiculous your supposed discussion generator was. Quade signed with Toulon, Toulon have obviously made plans around that. Quade is trying to get out of his contract and Toulon are trying to stop him. I see no reason why Toulon would be throwing offers at other fly halves, such as Foley or Carter, that already have contracts sorted out. It’s not rocket science

        • bad ass

          Is it brain surgery?

    • Because Toulon specialise in signing players past their international prime.

      You asked for it!

      • bad ass

        Thanks, and good answer.

  • Damo

    Good to hear of the focus on the Fiji game. This is a very dangerous opener for the Wallabies. They will be spoiling, unstructured and unpredictable. If we are highly disciplined we will weather what they throw at us and go on to get a good win. If we get caught up in the razzle dazzle we could be in trouble. It has happened before.

  • Mike Thompson

    What I’m noticing in the news is the absence of something: any mention of James O’Conner. Not a whisper.

    He’s a pretty damn talented player. But he didn’t make the 40 man squad and he’s just not even really talked about in terms of the Wallabies any more. Some story about him needing to work more on his sprint training, and then …. nothing.

    I can only assume he is still regarded as a toxic influence WRT team culture. Not in the Cheika mold. He absolutely has the talent to be there ahead of guys like Tomane. So his exclusion seems pretty deliberate to me.

    Remember the days when he talked so much about “My brand”. Seems a long time ago now. Welcome to the NRC.

    • stevo

      Mitchell has probably taken his ‘open’ (as opposed to ‘blind’) wing spot. No one seems keen to re-try him at 12 or 13 (inside someone direct like Kerevi or Kuridrani) and there’s no need at 15.

    • Nutta

      Yeah JOC’s an interesting one given the noise he used to create. My thoughts & opinions about him in no particular order:

      The amount of disrespect he showed to the Wobbly jumper especially last Bill time was significant and in my book that’s enough to see you out forever. But compared to Beale and Cooper he was at the lower end surely

      Further his off-field indiscretions are no-where near the calibre of Beale & Cooper yet he remains on the outer

      However he is not a play-maker and Cheks isn’t familiar with him. The play-making ability has seen Cooper re-enter the mix despite coming from an under-performing team (Reds) as 10 is still up for grabs to an extent. And Beale has both played for a successful team (so has glow) and is familiar to a coach who has had limited preparation time.

      In summary, JOC is an outside back of which we have a phalanx (unlike K or C), comes from a poorly performing team so has no glow (unlike K), hasn’t shone in & of his own right which may of counter-acted the Reds performance (unlike C), has no relationship with the coach (unlike K) – so out he stays.
      To be clear though, in my opinion Beale should be no-where near a national jumper either.

      • Mike Thompson

        I find it interesting because JOC is about 10 times more talented than Beale who seems to be currently ranked as the #2 fullback (I’m a Waratahs supporter).

        Its just that if you absolutely HAVE TO put up with dickheads on the basis of their talent, then surely JOC is a more talented dickhead to put up with than Beale?

        But apparently not. So the known-to-Cheika part of this must be big. Or the JOC-is-a-bigger-dickhead part. Factors outside of talent.

        • Deece MC Shredded Cassidy

          JOC played really well with the reds at full back this year even though he didnt score a try his line breaks and run meters where through the roof every game he made at least a 60 meter break

      • Braveheart81

        Yes, we know. You make reference to your dislike of Beale on a daily basis even when a story has absolutely nothing to do with him.

        • Nutta

          Alright then. I don’t think I have initiated his inclusion in a thread when he wasn’t relevant, but without combing Disqus maybe I am wrong and I have. Either way I’ll make you a promise. I won’t initiate Beale’s involvement in a thread again. If he is brought up either in the article or in the comments then all bets are off and it’s all in. But I won’t be the one to bring him up first. I promise.

        • Chinese Dave

          You’re a better man than most mate, definitely better than me. I can’t help bring up certain wife beating ABs every time the bloody Kiwis on this forum start banging on about how good they are.

        • Nutta

          Quite possibly BH81 has a point. He’s been a contributor here a long time (I think he pre-dates me and I first chimed in about 2009-ish) and being in a community means we listen to our fellows and make accommodations occasionally.

        • Braveheart81

          You predate me Nutta. I only joined in the lead up to the 2011 RWC.

        • bad ass

          Beale.

        • Nutta

          LMAO at that

  • onlinesideline

    random thought – you know what I think we are missing in the backs – the Honey Badger’s complete committment when taking the ball in contact and also when making a front on tackle. Was just thinking how he did that in twickenham couple years ago on EOYT… who does that for us now ? ..the English were clearly rattled by him..maybe Kuridrani … but ACC, Mitchell, Gits – all great but small and getting on…probably left to Toomua , Kuridrani, Folua – we shall see but thought for above reason Badger would be better pick than Tomane (even tho I rate Joe) and also would of thought Cheika would of loved the pyscho committment to running with the ball too.

    • stevo

      I always thought Badger’s biggest asset was in his enthusiasm / 100% commitment on the field. He isn’t the biggest, or the fastest, or the most skillful, but he often looks as if he’s the most desperate. I assume he’s good value off the park as well, and I hope that’s taken into account from a team harmony perspective when teams are put together on paper.

      • onlinesideline

        mate he aint small and hes pretty damn fast – combine it with his badger approach – the Poms were clearly thinking to themselves – who the f&&k is this aussie nutcase ?..lol

        • Deece MC Shredded Cassidy

          compareds to boys like Henry Speight the honey bager is very slow

    • Brisneyland Local

      I agree! The Badger brings all that, plus (never to be under rated) is the effect he has on the team. No ego, all about the team, in built comedy routines, and just all around good guy!

    • Braveheart81

      If his 2015 form was anything like his 2013 form I think he would have been picked. He seemed to be playing with injury in 2015 and had lost a chunk of his pace.

      • galumay

        I agree, he was a totally different player, not sure whether it was injury or something else. He was completely ineffective, slow and awkward. A shame as he had showed significant potential and is a real character.

      • harro

        Maybe it was his time in Japan, in that he didn’t really have an off season. He hasn’t been the same since he got back. Makes me worry a little about other players that will be doing the same thing

    • Purce

      I can only assume you are a big fan of Cummins. He has had a below average season. Even at his best he isn’t as as good a player, in any aspect, as Drew or AAC. The only thing could be speed… but even that would be a line call.

      He’s great for the game and everyone loves him but other teams will be far more worried about AAC/Drew/Gits than they would be about the Honey Badger. If you actually think any of those 3 are less committed than HB I suggest you go back and watch any of the RC tests this year and see Gits/AAC constantly making solid tackles in the midfield/outwide/lastline try savers. Then perhaps watch Drew completely dominate and bump the “GOAT” McCaw.

      As much as I like the Badger, Chieka made the right choice picking the wingers he did over him.

      • onlinesideline

        yeah he may have had below average season and carrying some niggle. Re AAC and Gits and Drew – yeah all gutsy as hell – no doubt bout it but none of them took / take the ball up with head on ferocity of cummins and none hit harder than cummins – face first no f*&ks given –
        they may have better read of game but all three have been in major test losses against the ABs quite a few times…I mean are they world beaters ? – Gits and Drew is a nice a nice story but you telling me that in 4 years we havent been able to blood a better 12 and 14 …it just feels like a rerun to me. Maybe its Cheikas thinking re world cup that northern hemisphere expericence of big game days in full stadiums is what will win it – ie gits / drew / mumm / douglas all having that

        • Nutta

          When comparing players I often apply what I call “The Mars Test”. If Mars were to come to earth tomorrow and we were playing for World domination, who would I want representing me either stand-alone or when compared to someone else. Applying the Mars test to all Australian wingers atm I would take Horne & TwoDads with Badge up next because I know they will tackle their guts out and be fearless in both the run & the chase or die trying.

    • McWarren

      And he chases kicks non stop.

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