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Where to for quality Rugby journalism???


Larry Dwyer (12)
Yep, Rugby Players in NZ really take the Black Jumper and the honour and traditions associated with it pretty seriously.

It is never owned by anyone, just loaned to a player on a very temporary basis.

Too much entitlement in Australia, founded by a fear that player X will be off overseas or will sign with Mungo.

Let them go I say. Plenty of other young'uns who will bleed Gold to take their place.
It is worth reading Graham Henry's biography on the situation when he took over the All Blacks. They finished last in the Tri nations, had binge drinking, the players preferred playing for their provinces and there were key personalities who ran the culture. Henry, Smith, Hanson and Lahore had a big culture change program and took strong positions with some players who led the old culture.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD


Jason Little (69)
Hugh Jarse I get what you say, but if we can find a way to keep 'em it would be better.
But no more molly-coddling. They need to learn the opprobrium of the team for being dickheads, if they are again, and suffer some tough love.

White and Cheika are already proving that club rugby CAN be good enough to produce players.

In fact, I reckon we should be in a position to cut down the number of marquee players in three years if the Super coaches keep looking towards club rugby, instead of signing up any 17yo who can beat the other 5 schools he plays against.

I hate autocorrect ...


Mark Ella (57)
It's easy for us to sit in our homes and say 'their too entitled' but frankly we have absolutely no idea what any of them are thinking or what they went through to get there. Anyone who does say they know what's going on in their heads is bullshitting.

The Matt Burke defence?


Sydney Middleton (9)
I agree, Sully. A couple of points.

There are real difficulties for young athletes being the subject of intense public scrutiny all the time. I don't think I would have looked too flash if what my mates and I got up to at that age had been written up in newspapers. And I think the same would apply to rugby stars from a previous generation. And what about the mantra, "What goes on tour stays on tour"?

There used to be an unwritten code that journos wouldn't delve into embarrassing issues about sportsmen, at least in this country.

The other point I'd make is that the three players concerned were fast tracked into professional franchises rather than coming up through the club system. No wonder they haven't got their feet on the ground.

My first thoughts on reading what is admittedly a well written article is that I'd rather it hadn't been published, and I also had a sneaking suspicion that perhaps John O'Neill had been interviewed for it. He's certainly front and centre in it with someone's quite detailed recollection of what he said.


Sydney Middleton (9)
Interviewed, with a quite detailed re-imagining of what he said I would suspect.

I trust the veracity of nothing that even hints of having JON's fingerprints on it. The last time he did something that was not entirely self-serving was before he had Hair Down There.

Bruce Ross

Ken Catchpole (46)
He's like Australia Post - he always delivers:

"They are a couple of points down. Fifteen points." Matthew Burke philosophising about the Wallabies position vis-a-vis the scoreboard. I'm guessing no one ever asked to copy his homework at Joey's.

Bruce Ross

Ken Catchpole (46)
He's on a roll:

"The Wallabies can take out of this game that maybe they've broken the line a couple of times." That's something they can build on - maybe.


Phil Kearns (64)
Staff member
As always the definitive account of the game comes from the ARU:

The Qantas Wallabies opened a new era under Head Coach Ewen McKenzie with a bright, attacking display before going down 47-29 against the All Blacks at ANZ Stadium in Sydney tonight in the opening match of this year’s Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship.

The highlight for the Wallabies was an impressive performance from new cap, Melbourne-born Matt To'omua, one of five new caps on the night for Australia, and a scintillating solo try from Reds scrumhalf Will Genia late in the first half which set the exuberant crowd of 68,765 alight.


Inside Shoulder

Nathan Sharpe (72)

That needs to be in the positivity thread.
So the bright attacking display was before we went down - how long in was that first AB's try?
How many penalties did Lilo kick - and I'm not bagging taking the points which was completely the right thing to do and kept us in the game but its hardly bright attacking rugby.
My seats were bad but I had thought I was at least at the right ground - obviously not.


Nick Farr-Jones (63)
Sponsors pay more when their name is highlighted. We are not so wealthy as a sport that we can afford to be purer than the driven snow when it comes to how we name ourselves.

Shakespeare said it best: "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet......"

Bruce Ross

Ken Catchpole (46)
Great news for all those of us who can never get enough of being reminded of the blindingly obvious:

Network Ten is pleased to announce Wallabies legend, Matt Burke, will join Sandra Sully on the desk of TEN News Sydney as Sports Presenter.

And what a team they will make. For some years I was a devotee of the late news on Ten solely in the hope that SS would set a new PB in the number of stuff ups she could make in a single news bulletin. Where she really shone was whenever she was handed an item of "Breaking News". Amid all the hideousness of the Twin Towers attacks what stays in my mind was Sandra's portrayal of a rabbit caught in the headlights as she endured hour after hour of constantly flowing updates.

I don't necessarily expect Matt to get in touch with me - we do our bit to assist without anticipation of praise or reward - but it is my conceit that perhaps I played a small role in bringing his unique capabilities and journalistic flair to the attention of Network Ten's executives through publicising some of his matchless contributions on these very pages.

Matthew, Sandra and Network Ten - you truly deserve one another.


John Solomon (38)
Good to see Spiro penning the inspiring and uplifting articles that have become his stock in trade.
IN the backwash of the disturbing James O'Connor controversy, a curious thing is happening to the Wallabies. Quade Cooper is becoming a team leader, a first-choice playmaker and a self-appointed spokesman for the side. These roles are gifts that he shouldn't be given. With O'Connor and Kurtley Beale, Cooper is one of the ''three amigos,'' the Generation Y gang that has almost destroyed the positive culture of the Wallabies. Cooper should be kept away from any leadership roles he might want to have in the team, on and off the field. He has to understand that he is in the side on probation.
The problem with Cooper is that he still isn't playing as well as he should, and as well as he and the wallabies need. And there are alternatives. But this is crap. Surely it is good if any of the wallabies including him to stand up on the field and show leadership qualities, if that he is picked as playmaker he playmakes, and that if wallabies management puts him in front of the media he interacts with them in the platitudinal way of sportsmen. The backline has only Cooper, AAC and now again Genia with any real test experience and frankly part of the issue has been a dearth of composure and leadership. You can't pick him as 10 and then expect him to keep his head down, do what he is told and stay away from the ball. You either pick him or you don't. Apart from playing better, what exactly does Spiro want from Cooper? The only other thing I can come up with is time travel. Unless Link does the players player voting, the real test (sorry Spiro and Gagger - not that I would ever thought I would link you together in a rant) of where he stands with the group is right there.


Geoff Shaw (53)
Spiro is getting more and more bitter by the day. He used to hide his preference for Deans by trying to appear even-handed but now Link has replaced Deans it is apparent that anyone who was anti-Deans during his time as coach is to be subject to criticism (the more bitter the better) by the great man. Both Link and Cooper are getting the attack dog treatment from Spiro, who now is writing as a shock-jock rather than a rugby commentator.

Like any shock jock, the criticism he writes is full of hypocrisy. His ranting over the "dirty" Springbok play against the "totally clean" All Blacks strangely forgot to mention any of the multiple shoulder charges from Nonu in this year's RC. Maybe he was a good rugby writer once, but those days are long gone.


Michael Lynagh (62)
Spiro's almost a farce these days. His article on Bismarck's red was insane, including the insistence the first yellow was deserved and the IRB was weak for recanting. Despite all evidence, Spiro also insisted that Bismarck was offside for the first yellow (despite being shown wrong by whoever replied).

It's to the point where I don't read Spiro's articles, because you know they're a waste of time. He's worse than Growden.


Greg Davis (50)
i was thinking of replying to the article, on the fairfax website, but then thought what the point, he is so clearly biased it s just a waste of time.


Arch Winning (36)
I've come across a "gem" from Matthew Burke on the SMH site.

So much is said for doing the simple things well, and I am a big fan of that, but when the simple things become somewhat predictable, don’t you have to come up with something else and throw in a change up of sorts?

You know what we need here? More commas. As the first sentence in an article, I just knew I was in for a bumpy ride. And Matthew - you were asking us for our opinions? You've changed.

The reason I mention this is because, even though the Waratahs went on to win well against the Rebels, the opening stanza saw at times aimless, frustrating rugby.

Oh, so you were asking us a question just so you could answer it yourself. I'm hurt, Matthew. And now I suddenly feel like I need to include three commas in every sentence.

The win, however, again saw the combinations between forwards and backs becoming more in sync. No doubt the Folau-Beale experiment will keep prospering.
This augurs well for home games but the real key is gaining the four points away from home.

A few questions: what experiment are you referring to? How can an experiment 'prosper', did you really mean 'augur' given that the games have already been played, and how the hell is this related to home games?

The tour to South Africa presents a great opportunity against two teams that will certainly test the attacking prowess of the Waratahs.

The Sharks will be followed by the Stormers, two teams that traditionally have prided themselves on being very physical and very aggressive. I rate their presence on the field as being at the top of the pecking order.

I remember vividly the Tahs getting manhandled when Phil Waugh was captain a couple of years ago and I suspect nothing has changed in their playbooks.

The republic can sometimes be a destination that is a graveyard. But the Tahs go there with confidence and momentum
Aaahh Matt Burke, Lord of the Adverb, Master of the Redundant. Captain of the Obvious and Ambassador of the Mixed Metaphor. The 'playbook' and 'graveyard' sentences are especially cringeworthy.

In a time when possession is everything, I still believe you need the threat of kicking the ball to be able to run the ball. That's my thought of the day.

What unfolded last weekend, and to a small extent on Friday, was a limitation - or floor perhaps - in the attacking process of the Tahs.

Don't get me wrong, it’s courageous the way the team is chancing its arm from inside their own 22, but I feel that what presents itself this week will be a completely different beast.

Just the one thought there Matt? If you're only going to have the one thought you might want to put it ahead of the half-article of non-thoughts. And you meant to say flaw. Don't get me wrong. It's courageous the way you're chancing your credibilty in a nationally accessible news outlet, but I feel that what presents itself in the next article will need to be a completely different beast to avoid me taking the piss out of it.

The South African teams already adopt an aggressive nature in defence and at the breakdown. The Tahs were belted in attack by resilient, perhaps you could say swarming, defence.

I skipped some literary magic, but surely this paragraph could have replaced the paragraphs referencing the good old days when you were still playing Matthew.

Actually the second half of the piece consists almost entirely of what he should've used in the first half. But it's like he is paid per word. Alas I've lost the will to continue. Treat yourself and read more at
I dare you.

And now I close with Burke's last line:
As I re-read my own article I may be perceived as a doomsdayer, but the point I am trying to get across is: to win you have to be well rounded and skilful in all areas of the game.

I think there's a little something in that for all of us, don't you?


Arch Winning (36)
Do you think Mr Burke is secretly stockpiling cans of beef and bottled water, or do you think he meant to say "doomsayer" instead?