Too few will watch Tahs go to Waugh with Brumbies

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    Captain Phil Waugh must play the 80 minutes against the Brumbies tomorrow night if the Waratahs are to win the Super Rugby crunch clash at ANZ Stadium.

    Success will cement a finals berth for the men-in-blue; a loss oblivion. The Brumbies will be playing for pride alone to end their season of disasters, sporting an Australian Super record of 12 losses.

    But the Waratahs have had their fair share of disasters, lowlighted by being loudly booed off the SFS after the shock 3-23 loss to the then lowly Cheetahs.

    With Waugh on the injured list, Dean Mumm led the side that forgettable night, as he did in four of the Waratahs’ six losses this season – the Blues 17-31, Sharks 21-26, and Bulls 17-23 – games that could, and should, have been won.

    Making it imperative that warrior Waugh goes the distance. With the Brumbies desperately keen to poop the Waratahs’ party, there’s no love lost between the two sides.

    And with Kurtley Beale heading for the Rebels, Al Baxter into retirement, and Luke Burgess to France, playing their last game for the Waratahs – as will Matt Giteau (Toulon), Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs), Patrick Phibbs (possibly Waratahs), and Mitchell Chapman to Japan be making their swansong for the Brumbies – it has all the makings of a spirited clash if rival coaches Chris Hickey (Waratahs) and the Brumbies’ Tony Rea unleash their attackers.

    And if South African referee Craig Joubert doesn’t try to be number one on the paddock, but lets the play flow with plenty of advantage.

    That’s a lot of “ifs”, compounded by the delusional decision to play this vital game at the expansive ANZ Stadium, where maybe 15,000 will look like a flea on an elephant, especially after the tick under 82,000 at Origin 2 last Wednesday night made it a sea of blue.

    Tomorrow night looms as a sea of empty seats.

    When will rugby officials get the message that ANZ is for Bledisloe Cup or Tri-Nations? The average Super Rugby fans rate ANZ a Z-interest venue. They are far more at home at the SFS, with it’s easier access and more intimate viewing.

    And think of the players trying to perform in a “three men and a dog” stadium. Hardly stimulating, or inspirational.

    With the negatives out of the way, hopefully Beale, Waugh, Lachie Turner, and Tom Carter can turn on the fireworks for the Waratahs, and Giteau, Ashley-Cooper, Mark Gerrard, and Pat McCabe likewise for the Brumbies.

    That will salvage something out of the wreckage.

    The clash deserves it.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn’t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world’s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (57)

    • June 17th 2011 @ 5:54am
      Damo said | June 17th 2011 @ 5:54am | ! Report

      Agreed re the choice of venue- ANZ. Parramatta or Penrith Stadia would make more sense.
      ANZ stadium looks like the ‘colosseum that WaratAhs play in when the go west’.
      You said ‘deluded’. I say ‘ pretentious’ to think that they would ever fill that stadium beyond SFS capacity before getting the basics right. ( for ‘basics’ read every ‘what’s wrong with tahs thread’).
      The decision to cash in on tahs cultural following was made before tahs actually had a cultural following.
      Tomorrow the team from Moore Park travel to the international ANZ stadium to ‘cash in’.
      The players have struggled hard this year and arguably deserve a finals berth.
      A win will be good news because they will get a finals game(s).
      A loss will be good because it may inspire more structural change.
      But for the players sake who have been courageous and committed this year I hope it’s a win.
      Farewell to Beale, burgess, Baxter and Holmes.

    • June 17th 2011 @ 7:07am
      MattB said | June 17th 2011 @ 7:07am | ! Report

      Mark Gerrard??

      • June 17th 2011 @ 10:08am
        David Lord said | June 17th 2011 @ 10:08am | ! Report

        MattB – my monumental and inexcusable mistake.

    • June 17th 2011 @ 8:11am
      JAJI said | June 17th 2011 @ 8:11am | ! Report

      I think Rugby fans prefer a drink in paddington and a bite to eat after the game rather than a long train ride out to Homebush…..lets face it Rugby fans are think on the ground west of Balmain

    • June 17th 2011 @ 8:16am
      Chris said | June 17th 2011 @ 8:16am | ! Report

      I think if you ask the NSWRU, the decision to play games out at Homebush is purely financial. The SCG Trust is well known for driving hard bargains with its tenants.

    • June 17th 2011 @ 8:38am
      hog said | June 17th 2011 @ 8:38am | ! Report

      Have not been to either stadium, but from someone watching on TV from Melbourne it looks a lot better from the SFS

      • June 17th 2011 @ 6:58pm
        voodoo people said | June 17th 2011 @ 6:58pm | ! Report

        SFS is a much better ground to view football of any code.

        At ANZ you are pretty far away from the action, especially behind the goal posts, and in a big crowd from the top tier you need binoculars.

        ANZ has a pretty crummy atmosphere with anything less than 30k, where the SFS can be pumping with only 15k.

        ANZ (aka Stade de Oz) is the national stadium, and is really only fitting for big event games, like Grand Finals, Origin, Internationals of all codes, athletics.

        The only club that seems to be making it truely their home is Canterbury.

      • June 17th 2011 @ 6:59pm
        Dan said | June 17th 2011 @ 6:59pm | ! Report

        It’s not… Homebush looks good when its full on TV, but watching a game there live is just plain crap… you’re too far from the action, it’s a pain to get to and it doesn’t hold noise well, so it’s crap at building atmosphere. It’s just a crap ground all round

        • June 17th 2011 @ 10:23pm
          WayneO said | June 17th 2011 @ 10:23pm | ! Report

          I agree 100%. You are miles from the action and the place is a vacuum. Atmosphere is simply non-existent. Watched the Tahs month or so ago and made the decision never to venture to that featureless behemoth again. Give me the SFS every day of the week. Easy to get to, and easy to get home from.

    • June 17th 2011 @ 8:40am
      Joshy Homes said | June 17th 2011 @ 8:40am | ! Report

      David Lord seems to have a problem with SA refs. Mate they’re the best in the world. I suppose you’re a Stu Dickinson man then?

      • June 17th 2011 @ 9:19am
        Davina said | June 17th 2011 @ 9:19am | ! Report

        SA refs are terrible. I totally agree with the article. It is so much better to have a flowing game instead of the whistle blowing every 2 seconds. Look what happens when the Tahs play in SA, the assistant referee stops the game to give us a red card for head butting when the guy is just clearing out the ball.

        • June 17th 2011 @ 11:24am
          Joshy Homes said | June 17th 2011 @ 11:24am | ! Report

          Is that why the IRB ranks them as the best? I’m pretty sure the top 3 refs are ranked

          1. Kaplan
          2. Lawrence
          3. Joubert.

          Just because the team you’re supporting loses with them reffing, doesn’t make them bad refs.

          Told.

          • June 17th 2011 @ 12:43pm
            Taniwha said | June 17th 2011 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

            I also think the South African refs are in general the best (Kaplan can became a bit of an Emperor on occasion though, best days are definitely in the past). Australian and New Zealand refs the worst.

            • June 17th 2011 @ 1:26pm
              Amateur Hour said | June 17th 2011 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

              Mark Lawrence was again outstanding on the weekend, as was Kaplan (until possibly the final decision of the match).

              I wouldn’t be surprised if Lawrence referees some pretty important matches in the WC.

              I think Marius Jonker lets down the SA image. He’s terrible.

          • Roar Guru

            June 17th 2011 @ 3:31pm
            PeterK said | June 17th 2011 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

            That ranking is just in your dreams.

            If Mark Lawrence was rnaked 2 then he would be reffing at the RWC. He is not. Kaplan and Joubert have been chosen.

            I think the best SH ref is Steve Walsh , then Joubert, then Mark Lawrence.

            However I think that the best refs in the world are from the NH , England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland in particular.

          • June 17th 2011 @ 5:00pm
            Hawko said | June 17th 2011 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

            Current rankings have Joubert in the top three, with both others being NH refs. Kaplan is still highly rated despite being unable to fairly referee matches with the Waratahs and making schoolboy mistakes in tests. Mark Lawrence, who I rate alongside Joubert and Barnes as the top three in the world is on the nose with POB and is out of the world cup. He and Dickenson are not considered top 20 by the heirachy. Instead such genii as Bryce Lawrence, Pollock, Poite etc. are considered better. The adjudicators obviously don’t watch many games!

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