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2017 Under-20 Competitions including Oceania & World U20s

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Nicholas Shehadie (39)
This is comedic.

Literally every pass is inaccurate or dropped or both.

The winger can't even seem to field kicks in back play.


Nicholas Shehadie (39)
Another rolling maul try. Is Larkham coaching?

Good to see Australian attacking flair is still alive.

Can anyone comment on the conditions at the ground?

The sage

Vay Wilson (31)
Well that was interesting.

Fiji played a lot better than they did against the kiwi's; actually made tackles and ran with purpose. They worried the Aussie boys out of a lot of ball.

O'k out of the first two games, a couple of big things to work on: long thrown line-outs, have not worked at all, can't remember one successful one; therefore maybe don't do it against the kiwi's. Maybe throw 2 and 4 and then change it up with 5 or 6 man lines. The amount of ground lost through #6 or #7 throws means they aren't quite up to it yet.

The backs continuity is poor with no purpose, not many line breaks and very little support if broken, just look rushed and disorganised. Maybe its the speed of the game, don't know can't put my finger on it. Poor passes, poor decision making. For the first time (in watching 4 matches) was reasonably happy with Jooste's performance even though just a 6/10; but was an improvement , good for him.

O'k out of the first two games my selection for the World Cup:

Must Have's

Johnson-Holmes, Ma'afu, Hocking, Swain, Scott-Young (but at #8), Nucifora, Strang, Hunt & Ikitau.

Added to this list (not including 7's players) Vai, Stewart and Perese.

Almost there's:

Chapman, Wright, Hewat, Ngamanu, Swinton (Not at 4 & 5).

There are others that will fill the holes but still need more front rowers.

The sage

Vay Wilson (31)
I said the same thing when watching Qld v NSW at wests about six weeks ago.
Even worse going right to left. Picked for bash and barge. Australia will pay a price for no skilled second flyhalf

You may be right, however when did he get clear air to pass? Didn't really get too many opportunities to pass as you wished for, and yes most of them weren't taken. Maybe the coach is thinking of Jooste at#12? Hunt did make one or two breaks/half breaks but no support and wasn't clean.

Still the best we have at the moment. Really need Stewart back so the back line can get some continuity, confidence and structure before they go to Georgia at the end of the month.

HJ Nelson

Trevor Allan (34)
Staff member
Photos from tonight:

NZ v Samoa - Flickr or Facebook

Aus v Fiji - Flickr or Facebook



Brumby Runner

David Wilson (68)
Another very poor exhibition skills-wise from the Aus U20s. Can certainly see why our senior players are all short on skills development if this is the standard coming out of the high performance pathways.

One area that did impress was the two locks. Swinton will probably play on the side at some stage, but together he and Swain were so much better than the locks in the first game.

The backline combinations are just rubbish atm.

Can't see Aus getting within 50 points of NZ on Saturday, and that's a legitimate 50 points not a Paarlbark estimate.:(


James Horwill (77)
Staff member
I reckon a fair few of those players, particularly in the backline (where there are more options to bring in) played their way out of the Under 20 World Cup squad last night.

Clearly the Super Rugby players are going to slot straight in as long as they're available but you'd think that there will be less concern parachuting in some of the 7s players as well. It's hard to imagine their skill levels and ability to work with teammates being worse than what we saw last night.


Frank Nicholson (4)
Last nights game very much a trial game scenario and that showed in the way the boys played. But "trialling" players is what the Coach has to do at this time. The first game v Samoa was played at "Coaches call" of 40%, so options need to be looked at.

Forwards: 2 changes were Breakaway Swinton to Lock (4) & No 7 Allen. Allen was great at the breakdown (as always) but limits line out options. Didn't think the option of Swinton(4) in second row worked, and back to last years scenario of playing players out of position. Lets not go there again! Locks roles are so technical and the best combo's are a running lock and a working lock (or tight and loose being a playing style. Still out on McAuley and Hocking together from the first game. Both good players as loose locks and went ok against a weaker Samoan scrum but not sure how they will hold up against a NZ, Wales, South African forward pack). Actually, Swain, McAuley and Hocking are all a similar style and physicality in that they play a loose Lock game, Blyth is the only Lock that plays a true tight, physical, scrummaging game. The forwards lacked strength in the scrum and were pushed around by the Fiji scrum. Would hate to see them V a Wales Scrum! Line outs are very technical and require speciality skills in not only lifting, jumping, throws, timing and calls, but also options. They can go wrong for many reasons. All those skills did not come together in the first half because: having a non jumping 6/7 (SY and AA) left few line out options so pressure on the thrower. (Easy to pick where the ball was going). Also, the throw can look bad if the lifters aren't up to scratch with timing, height and strength and the skills required there can't be overlooked.

QLD success came off a great tactical line kicker in Stewart, that was then backed up by perfect line outs. Throws were like threading a needle and lifters created perfect jumps. QLD also had options of 4 (Blyth), 5 (Hocking) & 7 (Wright), which left the opposition in no mans land every time. Last nights 2nd half was better when the big 19 (Blyth) came on for a number or reasons. Extra power in scrums and got some push on Fiji giving cleaner ball. Aggression in the clean outs over the ball which got Fiji going back and clean faster ball for half back. Options in line out improved with Swain(5) Blyth(19) and Wright (20). Team spirit and morale lifted and forwards execution improved through the second half with some great execution from line outs leading to tries. The front row was completely changed and here, we saw a difference with a complete change of personal, rather than an integrated change front row. Fresh set of legs and fight for front row spots should have brought some mongrel to the back end of the game but we did not see that, it more highlighted the lack of mobility and srummaging skill in the replacement tight 3.

Backs: Big changes in the back line as mentioned in prev posts. Clearly the "trial" nature of the game influenced decision making with mistakes made from players trying too hard too early and then being isolated, or forced passes/dropped ball. Fullback kicking game was without purpose and it looked like players were taking individual options to show their skills. Schoolboy stuff that does not work at this level. Backs never looked like they were going to either threaten or get across the line as either execution or options were so poor. It was interesting to see how players performed when there is pressure from the opposition and that is what this tournament is all about. Jooste ran sideways under pressure and there was not much room out wide. Riley busted up a few time when given some space and was one of the few backs that was impactful as he ran straight. Ngamanu weaved magic as usual and cleaned up after poor options were taken on many occasions. Fiji did a good job of hassling the Aus backline and that will no doubt create some headaches for Coaching staff.

- Finishing the game with 14, and then 13 players on the field (due to late game injuries and no benchies) was interesting!
- Aus started to dominate in 2nd half and executed some great rolling mauls off the line outs. Great options and execution.
- Backs had plenty of ball in the second half when forwards gelled and got cleaner ball, but poor options and individual play let them down.
- Got no problems with forwards taking it on to tries when you are 15-20m out. I would say that by the time you have gotten to mid second half, you should have worked out where your strength in the game is, so good options and execution. Different story if piggies hog it and backs never get the ball, but that wasn't the case last night.
-Lucky for Aus Fiji kicking was off as the first half would have been very different. Aus would have been behind for most of the first half and that extra pressure of the score board, and the wind in the sails for the Fijians would have caused issues for the underperforming Aus team.

Boys need to pick themselves up and play to the structure the Coach is giving them and execute as a team.


James Horwill (77)
Staff member
If all the relevant players were available, what would the best backline look like?

9. Nucifora
10. Stewart
11. Hutchison
12. Jooste?
13. Perese
14. Ngaumu
15. Maddocks

21. Strang
22. McGregor
23. Tuipolotu

27. Kennewell/McNamara
28. Riley



Tony Shaw (54)
Another very poor exhibition skills-wise from the Aus U20s. Can certainly see why our senior players are all short on skills development if this is the standard coming out of the high performance pathways.

One area that did impress was the two locks. Swinton will probably play on the side at some stage, but together he and Swain were so much better than the locks in the first game.

The backline combinations are just rubbish atm.

Can't see Aus getting within 50 points of NZ on Saturday, and that's a legitimate 50 points not a Paarlbark estimate.:(


We can all now see the pattern, as it's become so pervasive, so obvious.

How many points do our Super teams leak when they have have the athletic prowess to equal the equivalent Kiwis, but they can't pass the ball or tackle properly. And then there are the poorly executed grubbers and kicks from hand. The list runs long.

We can do all the game write-up re Australia's elite rugby teams, but in 2017 they all more or less say the same thing.

Poor rugby skills are killing the professional game in Australia. Australian fans will not pay serious $ to watch our teams not only never beating the ABs but rarely if ever being able to beat any Kiwi team and losing badly, it's no mystery why the crowds and viewerships are falling.

When we see it all in our U20s, the understand the genesis do we not?

Massive ARU investment in propping up a grossly failed, ego-driven Super 'national footprint' project - and we have fuck all to show for it as the vast sums from media deals have largely been deployed in raw commercial losses now vaporised, not skills and coaching and training facilities investments.

Quality of product and its derivate, competitive excellence, matters to the accretion of sustainable success in any enterprise.. What a genius observation.

Australian rugby's quality of product has fallen off a cliff.

Barely any investment here over the last decade in the quality of the product - deep skills, and skills discipline, training from juniors up, layered coach development and coach assist programs, leading-edge S&C practices, specialist skills clinics, and so on. Hasn't happened.

The most egregious investment and strategy lack has been in all levels of rugby coaching. Our skills are poor as our coaching standards and availability of good coaches - every level - are so poor. We've let this happen as the only coaching the ARU thought really mattered was the Wallaby HC and we have even managed to fuck that up more than we have not.

Now we have a triple-deck problem - while we have degraded, NZ has invested wisely and improved even further, embarrassing us even more, and then, as a consequence of our poor management of the code, we have no money left to invest with. So the gap and the overall problem of poor product quality is building exponentially, not as a linear form.

This is why, when the apogee of the Australian rugby crisis is finally reached, and then the collapse, and we can at last begin again, we will irrevocably have to shrink back to a much smaller size where we can densely apply the right curative resources and invest in a whole new way of up-skilling our juniors.

That radical uplift in skills requires a radical regrouping and re-prioritising around coaching and coaching excellence. There will not be much to go around (financially and otherwise) so we will have to drastically reduce the footprint to fit a totally new model of building skills and playing quality excellence vs size and scale for its illusion-based sake.

In the Australian Rugby 2.0 I look forward to, we can start anew and do the job right, as it should have been done long ago. It's not voodoo magic or rocket science.

We absolutely, 100% can do it. There are precedents and recent examples of great encouragement. We won the gold medal in Rugby 7s in Rio predominantly as our players' core skills to a woman were outstanding, and this depth of consistent skills execution gave the team the confidence and capability to play an adventurous, dynamic, attacking style of 7s that in 2016 was the best in the world. (Sounds kind of like the Kiwi model, doesn't it.)

Happy to Chat

Nev Cottrell (35)
It would help if the Super Rugby coaches assist with releasing players eligible to play u20's and not have them traveling around as backup to bench players. They never see their names on a match day 23 list never mind even making the field. They should be available for the u20 squad! Surely there are players in club land that would love to travel around and hold tackle bags for the players? We need to have a united vision for rugby in Australia. The rugby culture is as individual and uncoordinated as the game played yesterday. It should be taught at the grassroots but the motivation assistance and genuine love for the game should come from the top. Only that way will we grow the right culture.

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