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Australian Rugby / Rugby Australia

stillmissit

Bill McLean (32)
He just didn't suit our system, tried to make a wider squad without ever nailing a XV, looking back its a bit bizarre he has never coached at international level anywhere else.
Yes, maybe he prefers to coach in Japan and is happy to avoid the politics and media BS. I can't blame him if that's his preference. I'm sure he would have had offers he is too good a coach to be ignored.
I note the similarities in your criticism of Deans to what we have with Rennie today!
 

stillmissit

Bill McLean (32)
Didn't Hooper get his 5 year mega deal from Rugby Australia not long after these events?

Maybe some of the public didn't like his image but he definitely seemed worth his weight in gold for the organisation.
Huge mistake to pay that to him at that time and for 5 years. Shut out any competitive talent ie Pocock, so we ended up with an unbalanced backrow.
BTW I rate Pocock far more valuable to Aus rugby than Hooper.
 
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Dan54

John Eales (66)
Maybe so. Certainly ended badly for Link.

Hooper's golden boy status also took a hit at the time. Not sure he ever got it back.
Don't get me wrong, I think Hooper a bloody good player, and captained Wallabies well etc, but I do admit I will always get a picture in my mind of him I believe shafting Link, and making it clear he didn't really support him, and my only reservation with Hoops.
 

stillmissit

Bill McLean (32)
Don't get me wrong, I think Hooper a bloody good player, and captained Wallabies well etc, but I do admit I will always get a picture in my mind of him I believe shafting Link, and making it clear he didn't really support him, and my only reservation with Hoops.
All part of our rugby history. McQueen's good intentions of including all Brumby/Wallaby players in discussions and giving them some say in decisions, morphing into 'player power' and the impact on Aus rugby has never been examined, at least to my knowledge.
'Sacking' of Link and before that Nucifora just after winning their last? Super Rugby title.
It is the bus conductor syndrome, give some small-minded people power and it goes to their heads!
 

Braveheart81

James Horwill (77)
Staff member
Huge mistake to pay that to him at that time and for 5 years. Shut out any competitive talent ie Pocock, so we ended up with an unbalanced backrow.
BTW I rate Pocock far more valuable to Aus rugby than Hooper.
Pocock played every single test he was healthy for after that contract was signed until he retired a year later.

I don't think anyone would argue that at his best Pocock was a better player than Hooper. The best kind of ability is availability though and Pocock spent a lot of time out injured. He missed three entire seasons of test rugby between the 2011 and 2019 RWCs during which Hooper played pretty much every test once he was cemented in the team in 2012/2013.
 

rodha

Tom Lawton (22)
Deans' figures are somewhat sullied by the Lions series. According to World Rugby as a made up team, they get the ranking of the highest ranked team (England at the time) so Australia was expected to beat them each test. Obviously the Lions were better than that but the 2-1 series ends as two unexpected losses and an expected win

Robbie lost them a very winnable Lion's series by not selecting Quade Cooper.

This was Eddie Jones' take on it:

Deans has faced a barrage of criticism from many former players and pundits since naming his squad last Sunday, and Jones has joined with his own objections and says it is "just rubbish when built on the case that he needs to be more assertive in attack and dominant in defence."

"It means no room for the No.10 who plays every minute of every game; no start for the guy who made three tackles in a row against the Cheetahs last weekend; and no need for the attacker who has made more line breaks than any other top Australian No.10 this season."

Jones said he watched the Reds v Cheetahs game last weekend and had nothing but praise for Cooper as he toiled well despite being on the end of some wayward passing and a rare off game from Will Genia.

"Will Genia had more loop and spin on his passes than a Shane Warne wrong 'un yet Cooper continued to attack the gain line playing off poor passes from his halfback," Jones wrote. "I'm still scratching my head. Cooper's understanding of the gain line, of finding space, is far ahead of any other No.10 in Australia so if Deans isn't picking him, there must be other reasons."

Jones suggested those other reasons were probably personal, and noted previous fallouts Deans has had with high profile players.

"Deans does not forgive players who cross him," Jones wrote. "Just ask Andrew Mehrtens and Matt Giteau."

Jones felt the make-up of the Wallabies squad was good overall, with a strong forward pack and good outside backs but there was no fly-half.


"O'Connor is a part-timer. He is an instinctive runner who looks to use his natural skill rather than build an attack," Jones wrote. "Barnes is an excellent inside centre, but at flyhalf he plays far too deep and plays a conservative field position game."
 

stillmissit

Bill McLean (32)
Pocock played every single test he was healthy for after that contract was signed until he retired a year later.

I don't think anyone would argue that at his best Pocock was a better player than Hooper. The best kind of ability is availability though and Pocock spent a lot of time out injured. He missed three entire seasons of test rugby between the 2011 and 2019 RWCs during which Hooper played pretty much every test once he was cemented in the team in 2012/2013.
Yes I know, I am referring to Pocock at 7 and not at 8 where I thought he was wasted also Hooper was never as good as him IMHO.
 

Braveheart81

James Horwill (77)
Staff member
Yes I know, I am referring to Pocock at 7 and not at 8 where I thought he was wasted also Hooper was never as good as him IMHO.

We made a RWC Final with that combination and they were pretty dynamic together. Arguably they were our two best players through that period.

We also sorely lacked a genuine number 8. Ben McCalman was our best alternative at that time.
 

stillmissit

Bill McLean (32)
Robbie lost them a very winnable Lion's series by not selecting Quade Cooper.

This was Eddie Jones' take on it:

Deans has faced a barrage of criticism from many former players and pundits since naming his squad last Sunday, and Jones has joined with his own objections and says it is "just rubbish when built on the case that he needs to be more assertive in attack and dominant in defence."

"It means no room for the No.10 who plays every minute of every game; no start for the guy who made three tackles in a row against the Cheetahs last weekend; and no need for the attacker who has made more line breaks than any other top Australian No.10 this season."

Jones said he watched the Reds v Cheetahs game last weekend and had nothing but praise for Cooper as he toiled well despite being on the end of some wayward passing and a rare off game from Will Genia.

"Will Genia had more loop and spin on his passes than a Shane Warne wrong 'un yet Cooper continued to attack the gain line playing off poor passes from his halfback," Jones wrote. "I'm still scratching my head. Cooper's understanding of the gain line, of finding space, is far ahead of any other No.10 in Australia so if Deans isn't picking him, there must be other reasons."

Jones suggested those other reasons were probably personal, and noted previous fallouts Deans has had with high profile players.

"Deans does not forgive players who cross him," Jones wrote. "Just ask Andrew Mehrtens and Matt Giteau."

Jones felt the make-up of the Wallabies squad was good overall, with a strong forward pack and good outside backs but there was no fly-half.


"O'Connor is a part-timer. He is an instinctive runner who looks to use his natural skill rather than build an attack," Jones wrote. "Barnes is an excellent inside centre, but at flyhalf he plays far too deep and plays a conservative field position game."
Rodha, Jones was the most political animal in Australian rugby, according to a couple of guys I knew who were involved with him at the time, I cemented my observations based on his speeches etc. I don't think he has changed whilst coaching England.
Cooper was a nasty piece of work in his younger days, 3 amigo's drinking, late nights out a self-centred bunch, charged with theft, very late hit and run away on McCaw and so it went. I was not surprised when deans dropped him and he was not as good in those days as he is now.
I am struggling to remember when if Jones brought Cooper into the Japanese teams he coached, I think it was around the time Cooper was on the outside and could have done with a job.
 
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stillmissit

Bill McLean (32)
We made a RWC Final with that combination and they were pretty dynamic together. Arguably they were our two best players through that period.

We also sorely lacked a genuine number 8. Ben McCalman was our best alternative at that time.
Wasn't Cliffy Palu available at that time? I wonder what we could have done with Fardy 6, Pocock 7 and Palu 8? Hooper on the bench.

1669694077937.png
 

Braveheart81

James Horwill (77)
Staff member
Wasn't Cliffy Palu available at that time? I wonder what we could have done with Fardy 6, Pocock 7 and Palu 8?

View attachment 15020

Not often. He played 3 tests in 2015 and was effectively our second or third choice number 8 once Pocock started playing there. He got injured against Uruguay in the RWC and was replaced. His three tests in 2015 were against the All Blacks in NZ, USA on the way to the RWC then Uruguay.

He played one test in 2016 before getting injured again and that was his last test.
 

rodha

Tom Lawton (22)
Deans was good no doubt about it but I believe he benefitted (from what I consider at least)
the best group of players from any of the recent coaches. Prime Quade, Pocock, Smith, Horwill, Vickerman, Ioane, JOC (James O'Connor) (James O'Connor), Mitchell, Palu, TPN (Tatafu Polota-Nau) (Tatafu Polota-Nau), Kepu, Robinson, Elsom etc. Reds won a title, Tahs were pretty good (final and semi? during this tenure).

Rennie has probably had the worst. He's had to deal with a pretty significant turnover, changing of the guard etc. lots of youth whilst not really being the generational talent that Deans had as young players.

You simply cannot compare Rennie's situation with Deans.

1 - The rugby landscape was completely different, between 2008-2013 Australian teams had quality players that were capable of beating their SA & NZ counterparts. Reds were dominant 2010, 2011, 2012, Waratahs 2008-2010, Brumbies dominant also - these sides all playing in a much tougher Super Rugby competition compared to today's one. During Robbie's time Australia's U20 sides were dominating their international opposition except for New Zealand/SA. 2008-2011 witnessed a golden generation of U20 Wallabies teams, they constantly finished 2/3rd. Robbie Deans inherited the vast majority of these players during his tenure.

2 - As already pointed out Deans inherited a new golden generation not seen since the early 2000's. Genia, Pocock, Elsom, Ioane, Mitchell, Cooper, Beale, Horwill, O'Conner, Vickerman, Palu etc.. to name a few. And just for perspective compare the number of international level options at first-five Deans had at his disposal (Cooper, Giteau, Barnes, Leali'ifano, O'Conner, Beale, etc..) now lets fast forward to the present day - where in terms of international level fly-half's Rennie has (a 34 year old Cooper, then crickets............)

3 - The most noticeable difference is that currently World Rugby has never been more competitive. In contrast, during Dean's tenure 2008-2012 the Wallabies opposition (bar NZ) had arguably never been poorer, the NH teams were piss weak, England were a basket case, NZ were regularly putting 40+ points on teams like Scotland and Ireland. South Africa were coached by an incompetent vastly underqualified Peter DeVilliers, England were equally shambolically coached by Martin Johnston - this was his first coaching job at any level!!

In comparison - Rennie as Wallabies coach has had the incredible misfortune to face 1) the strongest, most well coached Italian side in living memory. 2) the strongest Scotland outfit in living memory. 3) the strongest France team, so far probably in history, certainly the best coached French outfit ever. 3) An extremely well coached World Champion Springbok side under Rassie/Nienaber. 4) an England side under Eddie Jones who carries an intimate knowledge of Aus rugby & awareness of how to target them. 5) the strongest Argentinian side in recent history, most certainly at least since the inception of the Rugby Championship in 2012.

This retrospective Robbie romanticism from posters on here amuses me greatly - Robbie had it all handed to him on a platter!!!
 
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Braveheart81

James Horwill (77)
Staff member
This retrospective Robbie romanticism from posters on here amuses me greatly - Robbie had it all handed to him on a platter!!!

I am not sure it is romanticism so much as reflecting that in hindsight his era wasn't as bad as people considered it at the time.

He might have had a better platform than the coaches that followed him but likewise he also produced better overall results than the coaches after him.
 

stillmissit

Bill McLean (32)
You simply cannot compare Rennie's situation with Deans.

1 - The rugby landscape was completely different, between 2008-2013 Australian teams had quality players that were capable of beating their SA & NZ counterparts. Reds were dominant 2010, 2011, 2012, Waratahs 2008-2010, Brumbies dominant also - these sides all playing in a much tougher Super Rugby competition compared to today's one. During Robbie's time Australia's U20 sides were dominating their international opposition except for New Zealand/SA. 2008-2011 witnessed a golden generation of U20 Wallabies teams, they constantly finished 2/3rd. Robbie Deans inherited the vast majority of these players during his tenure.

2 - As already pointed out Deans inherited a new golden generation not seen since the early 2000's. Genia, Pocock, Elsom, Ioane, Mitchell, Cooper, Beale, Horwill, O'Conner, Vickerman, Palu etc.. to name a few. And just for perspective compare the number of international level options at first-five Deans had at his disposal (Cooper, Giteau, Barnes, Leali'ifano, O'Conner, Beale, etc..) now lets fast forward to the present day - where in terms of international level fly-half's Rennie has (a 34 year old Cooper, then crickets............)

3 - The most noticeable difference is that currently World Rugby has never been more competitive. In contrast, during Dean's tenure 2008-2012 the Wallabies opposition (bar NZ) had arguably never been poorer, the NH teams were piss weak, England were a basket case, NZ were regularly putting 40+ points on teams like Scotland and Ireland. South Africa were coached by an incompetent vastly underqualified Peter DeVilliers, England were equally shambolically coached by Martin Johnston - this was his first coaching job at any level!!

In comparison - Rennie as Wallabies coach has had the incredible misfortune to face 1) the strongest, most well coached Italian side in living memory. 2) the strongest Scotland outfit in living memory. 3) the strongest France team, so far probably in history, certainly the best coached French outfit ever. 3) An extremely well coached World Champion Springbok side under Rassie/Nienaber. 4) an England side under Eddie Jones who carries an intimate knowledge of Aus rugby & awareness of how to target them. 5) the strongest Argentinian side in recent history, most certainly at least since the inception of the Rugby Championship in 2012.

This retrospective Robbie romanticism from posters on here amuses me greatly - Robbie had it all handed to him on a platter!!!
rodha, if I understand your argument, we should have dominated the world and yet we didn't, if you think SA was a walk in the park you should go back and watch a couple of those games.
When Robbie Deans took over we were 5th in the world and he took us to 2nd and we stayed there for most of his time. we won tri nations (1st time ever), 3rd 2011 RWC, Cook cup, Mandela plate, Landsdown cup Bi-centennial cup France, Bevan Cup (which we just won back). 70% winning rate in Europe (50% with 2 previous coaches)
Introduced 50 new players.
I suppose he had it on a plate? Eddie Jones is a rank amateur compared to him at this time, what Jones's stats do not state was that McQueens team biased his stats positively and he played them into the ground to squeeze as much out of them as possible and his stats dropped after some of McQueens team retired. He also destroyed a generation of players by giving them 5 mins and then tossing them aside, claiming he introduced a large number of youngsters.
John Connolly brought some mongrel and sense back into the pack (Jones destroyed them with his forget-the-scrum and just get the lineout over) which helped Connolly's win rate but he only did one year.
 
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rodha

Tom Lawton (22)
Maybe so. Certainly ended badly for Link.

Hooper's golden boy status also took a hit at the time. Not sure he ever got it back.
Ewen McKenzie was (and still remains) arguably the most qualified person to ever coach the Wallabies IMO.

His CV is unapparelled - 51 caps for Australia, 1991 World Cup winner, unquestionably one of the best tight-head props for Australia.

In 2000, he joined the Wallabies coaching set-up as an assistant coach to Rod Macqueen until 2001, when Macqueen stepped down as head coach, and Eddie Jones took over. During this time, McKenzie and Macqueen led Australia to their first Tri Nations title in 2000. In addition to this, they also helped the national team to their third successive Bledisloe Cup triumph, dating back to 1998. He also helped the Wallabies to a historic 2–1 series win over the British & Irish Lions, before again retaining the Bledisloe Cup though to 2003. During this time, Jones succeeded Macqueen and joined Link to lead the team to their second Tri Nations title in 2001. McKenzie's last duties as assistant coach was during the 2003 Rugby World Cup, where Australia lost the final to England in extra time.

He then became a successful head coach with the Australian A side and NSW Waratahs.

Coached an historically dysfunctional Red's outfit to their only legitimate title (Super Rugby AU doesn't count) in Super Rugby's 25 year history with a middling forward pack consisting of journeymen. Presided over largely dominant seasons in 2010, 2011, 2012.

He had those experiences as a player for Australia & as a successful assistant coach under Macqueen, he bleed Green & Gold to the core.

Out of anyone, Ewen McKenzie deserved to be a long-serving Wallabies coach - of all people, he was the one guy destined for that role.

But alas, it was a role that ended up being cruelly ripped away from him. His lifelong dream job, gone due to the carelessness of a few.

A tragedy really.
 
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