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Can Cheika ball work for the Wallabies?

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Bill Watson (15)
This post seems to ignore the fact that the Tahs were the best Australian franchise in 2014.

It also ignores the fact that in the current starting XV, there are only 6 Waratahs (Kepu, Hooper, Phipps, Foley, AAC (Adam Ashley-Cooper) and Folau). Of those players, Foley is under pressure from Cooper and AAC (Adam Ashley-Cooper) is just now coming under pressure from a combination of Kuridrani, Speight, Tomane and the prospect of JOC (James O'Connor) next year. No one can fairly argue that Kepu, Hooper, Phipps and Folau are being selected because they're Waratahs. Making that argument about the other two is also tenuous.

People seem to be ignoring the fact that Cooper started against the Barbarians and looked short of a run. He's looked good off the bench the last couple of games but perhaps that is where he is at currently; an excellent bench option but not ready to take the reins from Foley. Alternatively, he might be named at 10 this week to take on England.

Who are all the non-Waratahs players being left out of the side because there is limited time before the RWC? It seems that this argument is being trotted out solely in relation to Quade Cooper.

You must be really panicking about something Braveheart, what I said was in reference to what I believe Cheika will do for the Wallabies to get his game plan working for the RWC, there wasn't a single word in what I said in relation to the current northern tour. Cheika has already stated he didn't pick the squad for the northern tour so he would use it to take a look at some players he wasn't familiar with.

The topic of this thread is about Cheika's game plan and the Wallabies and my post is how I think he will implement said plan next year - this year has all but gone.
 

Brumby Runner

Jason Little (69)
Which is going to bring me to an excellent point if I do say so myself - looking at that Tahs pack:

1) Robinson - Slipper is better no doubt.
2) TPN - injured but a guaranteed selection in the XXIII
3) Kepu - playing and so far ahead of all the other options
4) Potgeiter - ineligible
5) Douglas - discarded
6) Dennis - injured, and effectively discarded (for now)
7) Hooper - playing
8) Palu - injured, slighted, underrated

What is reeeeeeeeally interesting about your point is that the Tahs pack wasn't just comprised of massive demigods who smashed everyone out of their way. People only see TPN, Palu, and Potgeiter (Kepu to a lesser extent) ripping it up with the ball and think "yep its because they were the best ball runners at Super level" and then go on to say things like:




The word in bold is the key thing - people keep talking about "players" that can implement this plan. Not a "team" that can implement this game plan.

And a lot of people in this category will write off a player because he doesn't "do" enough. What they are saying, in effect, is that the player isn't visible to them because they don't see him run with the ball or score tries or kick goals. They're not even good enough to get noticed making huge mistakes!

I suspect many of the people making these calls are backs, because backs only give two shits about three things: tries, beauty products, and showering with other backs.

Back to the point: its not about "players" who can implement the game plan. What you need is a big pool of players who can make the benchmark for attitude and fitness to implement a game plan, and then pick the right balance.

Yes, we will welcome back Moore and TPN. Not just because they're better players than what we have now, but they have the experience and aggression needed to complement and lift the other players.

If you put one of those two back in, and add a hard working back rower like Fardy, along with a suitably powerful second row pairing, then guys like Palu aren't singled out as the only ball running option and can be more effective.

Its all balance.

I've no doubt if Fardy was on the plane, we could have won both those Tests - with a bit of squeak - but not because Fardy is vastly superior to Higgers or Jones or McMahon. Its because Fardy's skill set complements Hooper's better, and allows Benny Mac or Palu or any other 8 to be the ball runner. Dennis is a similar player - his skill set at 6 is right up there with the other options in Australian Rugby, but people are too busy shitting on him for not being good enough.

In fact, a lot of people are lining up to shit hard on Cheika right now, and NSW players in general.

This can be attributed as someone said above to the selection of Beale in part, but mostly I think there are a lot of people coming out angry just because Link and Patston got shafted. Its understandable, its just not helpful.

As I said Pfitzy, I like the game plan you distilled down to two sentences. I am not sure we have the players, or the pool of players, to play it as successfully as the Tahs did in Super rugby. Perhaps we need the likes of Cottrill, Holloway, Neville and maybe Auelua to step up as well as seeing more improvement in Jones and McMahon. But time will tell.
 

Ash

Michael Lynagh (62)
Back to the gameplan.

The bit I worry about is the kicking, or lack thereof. You can't kick as little as the Tahs did in Super Rugby in Test rugby, otherwise teams with a strangling defence will just pin you in your half all day, or if your attack struggles in one game (say, your 10 or 12 has an off day) then there's no plan B to relieve pressure.

That is one of the areas I think needs to be changed, tactical kicking is very important in Test rugby and the obsession with run, run and run more needs a little balance.
 

Brumby Runner

Jason Little (69)
This post seems to ignore the fact that the Tahs were the best Australian franchise in 2014.

It also ignores the fact that in the current starting XV, there are only 6 Waratahs (Kepu, Hooper, Phipps, Foley, AAC (Adam Ashley-Cooper) and Folau). Of those players, Foley is under pressure from Cooper and AAC (Adam Ashley-Cooper) is just now coming under pressure from a combination of Kuridrani, Speight, Tomane and the prospect of JOC (James O'Connor) next year. No one can fairly argue that Kepu, Hooper, Phipps and Folau are being selected because they're Waratahs. Making that argument about the other two is also tenuous.

People seem to be ignoring the fact that Cooper started against the Barbarians and looked short of a run. He's looked good off the bench the last couple of games but perhaps that is where he is at currently; an excellent bench option but not ready to take the reins from Foley. Alternatively, he might be named at 10 this week to take on England.

Who are all the non-Waratahs players being left out of the side because there is limited time before the RWC? It seems that this argument is being trotted out solely in relation to Quade Cooper.

BH I think you are right. It is true that the Tahs are not dominating the starting 15 and that a couple of those are now under scrutiny (at least by the fans). I think that players like Speight and Jones should have been trialled earlier, but they weren't necessarily being kept out by Tahs players. And yes I do think that Cooper should be starting in preference to Foley against England. It is quite possible that selection choice is the sole reason for the argument that Tahs players are keeping others out of the team but it would be wrong as a generalisation.

Actually, the more I learn from posters here about the Cheika style the more I think Cooper's game is more suitable than Foley's at 10. Foley has been rather mechanical and is mostly sending a pass on to supporting players to the detriment of a more variable game to suit the circumstances and the opposition. I think that may be why many see him as not being overly successful in managing the game atm. Cooper on the other hand has the vision and smarts to see and take opportunities as well as the skill to create them as well which I believe would fit better into the game plan I think Cheika is implementing.

Looking forward to the RWC, I don't think we will see Tahs players dominating the selections despite some saying on here that only they can play the Cheika style. Of the current starters, I won't be surprised if Foley and AAC (Adam Ashley-Cooper) lose their spots and TPN is probably the best chance of coming back in. Hooper might also be under pressure to keep the starting 7 spot if Pocock regains his best form. Palu and Skelton are options depending on fitness and injury (in Palu's case) and learning how to play as a lock (in Skelton's case). I will be extremely disappointed if Beale gets into the starting lineup given the strength we are developing at 12, 13, wing and fullback at present, and considering JOC (James O'Connor), Honey Badger and KHunt might also force their way into consideration.

Are there likely to be any other Tahs that I have missed who could be in the running for a RWC spot? Can't say that can think of any.
 

barbarian

Phil Kearns (64)
Staff member
Bringing it back to the topic though Pete, the Cheika style generally involves a 10 who plays flat to the gain line.

This will mean that a couple of times a game he will have no options and will have to tuck it under his arm and hit it up, or else be swamped by the defence. So it's a necessary skill for Quade under this system.
.
 

mst

Peter Johnson (47)
From my unqualified and Brumbies biased point of view I have found it interesting that in recent times when the Wallabies have shown their attacking prowess, Foley has been at the centre of it.

IMHO I find it interesting, for all the criticisms and detractors, his style (call it simple, basic, whatever suits) provides the stable predicable platform that allows a backline to run some really good lines and create some really good attacking options. They know where he is, what is available and when. This has worked at the Tahs, and then for the Wallabies under McKenzie which I assume was a different game plan interestingly.

Cooper in the past was criticised after he started his cross field running and loss his form and touch. As he regained form and re-entered the Wallabies fold, it was well reported that once he tempered his creativity and stated to provide similar stable platform that Foley does as part of his game, mixed with his creativity the Wallabies again looked good.

So, maybe there is something about the stable, dare I say predictable platform for good backs to feed off. Once you have that (default mode?) then the extra elements like a Cooper or similar players who have good game control could really get the Cheika-ball going.

However, I actually think that if Cheika is genuine and focused on results, with his access to different talent and more skill sets he can probably already envision Cheika-ball MkII. Much different to Cheika-ball as we know it now.

Will it work? Possible, but we may need to be satisfied with the simple hybrid version at the WC due to the lack of time.

It may be the only option as trying to get his vision in to players from 5 different cultures and game plans to work is tough. So the mould cast just prior to the WC will have to do, even if its Cheika-ball Mk1 (beta) v2.5 .

So potentially due to time constraints Foley (or someone who can provide a similar platform) maybe the best option atm. If Cheika had more time it I think it may be looking at this differently.
 

cyclopath

George Smith (75)
Staff member
I liked that post not because it talks of Foley in decent terms, but because its thought out and has reasons.

I wish I could do that more often.
Was just thinking the same thing.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
 

Da Munch

Chris McKivat (8)
"Can Cheika ball work for the Wallabies?"

"please explain" ... like I know how the tahs play and maybe he was just lucky to have players that suited his style of play? or was it the other way round and he developed a style of play to suit the players he had?
I've not seen any of Leinster under his tutelage, which I should of looked for but I reckon some people on here will point out examples that exemplify his style of play for them. Was it the same as the tahs? I doubt it.

Anyway if Cheikaball is the same as tahball, yes it can but it's a team game, not a combinations, or persons game - we need alignment, support play, quick supply from the whole team, oh and a decent kicking game from a few individuals. I've ignored defence in the last rambling sentence, which we'll need of course but it's a given. Also I'm thinking of the 2003 WC SF against NZ as I write this, I've only seen it once and maybe I remember it with rose tinted glasses but sometimes it clicks and next year I hope it's for more than one game :D And I believe we've got the time to click before the WC ... just .... maybe.

p.s I assume you've deleted a whole bunch of posts already Sully cause I've not seen the Wallatahs mentioned once, thanks!
 

Viking

Mark Ella (57)
In Foley's defence he runs the ball better then Quade, he straightens the attack and keeps the defence honest.. Quade doesn't attack the line as well or often as he did from before the knee injury. Yes he keeps the ball alive but that's because he doesn't run as hard into contact as Foley does.


and To'omua runs the ball better then Foley, he hits the gain line hard and keeps the defence honest... he is also a better kicker, defender and offloader then Foley. Has a better pass too.

Just saying...
 
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Athilnaur

Arch Winning (36)
What a lot of rhetoric and rubbish.

I swear some people kid themselves. Rugby just isn't that complicated. But somehow people here make it so while reducing a coaches game strategy to 'Cheika Ball'.

No national team has the luxury of tailoring their team to their strategy. They pick their best team (squad) and tailor their strategy to their team.

Running, smart rugby is the Aussie way. It is in our game DNA. But we're only great when it is alloyed to hardened steel commitment at every contest. It was the thing that frustrated Deans - a coach who in my view achieved a very high standard with the players he had and was more than capable of tailoring a strategy to the players and situation.

We've got a new coach. He is a very good coach. As was Link and Deans. But what he brings that they couldn't isn't 'Cheika ball'. It is an ability to impart steel into players, hardened belief.
 

The_Brown_Hornet

John Eales (66)
No national team has the luxury of tailoring their team to their strategy. They pick their best team (squad) and tailor their strategy to their team.

Running, smart rugby is the Aussie way. It is in our game DNA. But we're only great when it is alloyed to hardened steel commitment at every contest. It was the thing that frustrated Deans - a coach who in my view achieved a very high standard with the players he had and was more than capable of tailoring a strategy to the players and situation.



You're right that running the pill is how we play the game. We don't fling it around like the French or Fijians do at their most unpredictable, but our first option has always appeared to be to see what's on with ball in hand. I like that, it's a great way to play the game. You're also on the money that it needs to go hand in hand with a, hitting and bending the gain line when we've got the ball and b, driving the other buggers backwards when they have it.

In terms of picking the strategy and then the team, I actually think this *is* how it should be done. I personally reckon as a sporting coach you've got to decide on a framework first and then find the right personnel to deliver on it, within reason of course. There's obviously no point in a bloke like Cheika opting for 10 man up the jumper style footy, because firstly it goes against the grain of our rugby culture and secondly you'd struggle to find a squad of forwards tailor made to do that. With that said, the game plan that he did institute with the Tahs can work at Wallaby level. It requires considerable buy in, commitment and discipline on the part of the players to consistently apply those structures, because when you get it wrong it's disastrous.
 

mxyzptlk

Colin Windon (37)
Also, can we please stop calling a certain coaches style of play "Jakeball" or "Chiekaball" or whatever. And stop calling scandals "Textgate" or "Bealegate". It is a bit lame.

Can we call the campaign to get rid of the -gates Forcefieldgate? (I know it sounds redundant.)
 

Athilnaur

Arch Winning (36)
TBH probably the closest any national team come to the luxury of a horses for courses squad would be SA and in practice I don't think they do either, just some emphasis on some player attributes. Certainly I do not believe we do or the kiwis. The kiwis expect their players to be able to implement the plan, and generally they keep the plans fairly simple but expect strong execution.

If the game was run like NFL maybe it would be different but as it stands which countries have the number of test level players to base squads on specialist selections?
 
T

Train Without a Station

Guest
From the horses mouth (Bernard Foley of the Wallabies) after the Ireland game to respond to the original question:

“We’ve got to develop a game plan that suits Test rugby. The plan that we used at the Waratahs doesn’t work here, it’s a different level. The teams we’re coming up against are a lot better, so we have to develop some variation.”
 
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