Provinces must realise Wallabies come first

The Outsider Columnist

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    Nick Phipps either had a blinder or a shocker against France, depending on who you talk to. AAP Image/Dave Hunt

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    Much debate was sparked last week by the ‘revelation’ from Queensland journalist Jim Morton of possible plans to stop Wallabies players playing for their states prior to the British and Irish Lions tour.

    I say ‘revelations’ because we were told at the logistics day last week that the plan, as presented by Morton, was yet to be decided on.

    So where did Morton got his information from – and what was the purpose of the leak?

    In both instances, I don’t think you have to be too clever to work out the answer. Suffice to say those who leak ‘privileged’ information generally only have their own ends in mind.

    The situation did generate interest overseas, and possibly provided an insight into why Australian rugby still, in some areas, lags well behind South Africa and especially New Zealand.

    Speaking to a South African counterpart later in the week, I was told the South Africans were amused there could be any debate at all as to the approach to be taken around preparing for a Lions tour.

    As my mate noted, Lions coach Warren Gatland had basically given us the pointer when he complained recently that if Australia took out its top players from the state games, it would impact on the Lions’ preparations for the series.

    If that’s not reason enough to do it, my South African friend reasoned, then recent experiences in first up Tests off limited preparation certainly was!

    Of course I thanked him for reminding me of the losses to Samoa and Scotland in 2011 and 2012, although I certainly saw his point, which crystalised my own thoughts with regards to the right way to go.

    The preparations for both of those Tests were rubbish.

    In 2011, half of the Reds guys were on the social bend for most of that week – understandably so after winning the Super Rugby title the weekend before – and so were in no way ready to play a Test.

    Robbie Deans rested a fair few of them, but those who did play bombed.

    Even consummate professional Willy Genia acknowledged later he wasn’t mentally ready to play, while the rest of the team struggled after what had been a very limited preparation on a few days of training.

    Scotland was even worse: one full training run together against a team coming off a Six Nations campaign, hardened by a full season of European rugby, and in tailor made weather conditions (although we could hardly blame preparation for the weather!)

    Given that history, is it any wonder that Robbie and the ARU have put a lot of thought into what preparation time is needed before the first Lions Test?

    Both, I would suggest, have taken heed of what worked for South Africa in 2009, New Zealand four years earlier and also Australia in 2001 (when current ARU board members John Eales and George Gregan were in the Wallabies and didn’t play the Lions for their respective states).

    Ewen McKenzie, who headed up the criticism in the Morton article, opens himself up to the charge of being hypocritical by wading into all of this.

    He was part of the Wallabies coaching team, as Rod Macqueen’s coaching coordinator, when many of the top Test players sat out the state games during the Lions tour of Australia in 2001.

    Although that fact was conveniently omitted from Morton’s article.

    South Africa, I was told, basically took on board what New Zealand had done, with senior figures in the team hierarchy getting together with the South African board to make a plan.

    While there were some concerns from the provinces around the affect on crowd numbers, they went along with it, recognising the needs of the Springboks were of primary concern.

    And that was rewarded with a 2-1 win in a tight series.

    In New Zealand, there is never any doubt the All Blacks get what they want.

    Just how much so surprised me when talking to some of the All Blacks after last year’s spring tour, but you certainly can’t knock the approach – look how it’s worked for them results-wise in the last decade.

    This includes the 2005 Lions tour, which the All Blacks won 3-0 after taking their top players out of the provincial games.

    And this is, in a nutshell, the crux of the question this issue raises for the game in this country. Shouldn’t it be about Australian rugby, that being the Wallabies, first?

    If it has been decided that taking players out of the state games will provide the Wallabies with the best preparation for the Test series, surely it’s a no brainer?

    Certainly the precedent of 2001, 2005 and 2009 suggests this is the right way to go, so one would be within their rights to question the motives of those who are challenging it.

    The players love playing for their states, but to play for Australia is the ultimate, and always will be, especially when you only get one shot at playing the Lions if you are lucky.

    To appreciate the significance of what is coming up for the Wallabies, you only have to look as far as Nathan Sharpe. He played Tests for the Wallabies for 11 years and has missed out!

    The Outsider was, in a previous life, an Insider with connections to the Australian Rugby Union. Shhh, no names! But we will give you one clue; he once wrote under the pseudonym 'The Insider'. We hope you enjoy the unique insights you'll be reading in this column.

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    The Crowd Says (260)

    • January 22nd 2013 @ 3:58am
      Johnno said | January 22nd 2013 @ 3:58am | ! Report

      Yeah Yeah, it’s all very well to say the wallaby interests come first, and I agree with that.

      But and a big but.

      -Why didn’t the ARU put in a proper strategic plan 12 months ago to deal with this.

      -It had ample time to prepare.

      The ARU are playing with super rugby CEO’S and coaches reputation’s, if they muck them around, and just simply get them to take on for the team. People’s livelihoods in other words and future employment are at stake here, if the ARU have not noticed.

      -The super rugby administrators and coaches have been forced to enter a hornet’s nest, where they are losing control over there strategic desicon making that will benefit them. This is the pro sport the professional era, full time jobs, not some amateur social saturday rugby club playing in subbies comps, where you go and have a BBQ after the game, and a few lemonades.

      -This is pro rugby, pro sport, you can’t just muck people if you want them to stay working in your system.

      -Mick Chieka must be wondering , now sometimes why did he bother leave Europe, where the clubs get far more freedom, and clear set dates set out well in advance. SO teams can have the right squad sizes , and organise the right training programs, and squad rotations.

      -There should of been more consultation with SANZAR, and the Lions management about this.

      -EG like compensation to super rugby sides , if they have a bad season etc.

      -I would of brought in a foreign import short term player welfare Arrangemnt.

      -Each team can sign 5 extra foreign improts, for short term only. 3 or 4 matches before the Lions 1st test starts, then that’s it.

      Yes it would cost a bit of money recruiting 5 extra players for a short 5 week contract, and the ARU or 3rd party would have to cough up.

      -But hay that revenue investment would do the following:

      -Player welfare so players can go to wallaby camp , with green light from super rugby teams.

      -And not compromise over squad oration during season, and Quality of squad.

      -Having world class players step up not shut shield standard players that don’t belong in super rugby.

      -The ARU have botched this up. They are playing with super rugby coaches, and admin staff and ceo’s, who can’t simply just take on for the team and have a weaker team , with no compensation whats so over.

      -Maybe ARU centralisation and full ownership of super rugby squads is the key , in the future.

      -But the strategic planning has been abysmal by the ARU, with super rugby teams before such an important series.

      -And the seemingly lack of communication between the ARU, super rugby teams, and the Lion;s management , has all been appalling it seems by the ARU on the surface.

      -SO i feel for the aussy super rugby teams.

      -Super rugby seems to be heading to a 40 man squad, based too, the ARU are going to have to find the money to expand squads from somewhere, to avoid player welfare issues like this. On top of trying to fund a 3rd tier,. I now have my doubts about the 3rd tier ARC coming back, any time soon i am talking at least 5 years away now eg 2018 time.

      -I don’t think the ARU are flushed for cash right now, judging by the way they have dealt with the consultation process, and strategic designs about how super rugby teams would deal with releasing players for Lions training camps and duties etc.

      • Roar Guru

        January 22nd 2013 @ 4:52am
        biltongbek said | January 22nd 2013 @ 4:52am | ! Report

        Johnno I think you are being somewhat unrealistic here.

        The ARU have already arranged for the Australian conference to start earlier to accommodate some of the matches.

        Where and how do you expect them to contract 30 professionals to replace the international players (considering the training squad for the Wallabies) for such a short period of time?

        At what cost will these additional players come and where does the addional money come from?

        Super XV has already encroached far too much of the calendar and it is time for Test rugby to be prioritised, besides that it is once every twelve years this happens.

        Test rugby is ultimately the biggest money maker and there should be no contest when it comes to the compromises made by the Franchises.

        I disagree that ARU has botched this up.

        i do agree however that squads need to be bigger, the alternative of course is less teams.

        • January 22nd 2013 @ 5:42am
          Johnno said | January 22nd 2013 @ 5:42am | ! Report

          Euro season is in off season. Biltongbelk, plenty of guys who don’t play a lot of rugby as big sward sin europe could handle a 3 or 4 game stint. Japan is in off season holidays, a few aussies and kiwis have done in the past cam to fill in from Japan eg David Hill who was on loan to the force a high quality kiwi no 10 who used to play for the waikato chiefs, who filled in at the force to help them with there injury problems in 2010.

          So much talent in USA and Canada eg no 8 Jebb Sinclair form Canada, is now one of the Stormers import players in the super rugby squad, and in STH Africa currie cup teams, and NZ , ITM cup teams who would benefit from 3 or 4 games eg big lock Daniel Adongo types Biltongbek who has now signed with the kings, and flourished under a season with Tana Umaga in the ITM cup.

          • Roar Guru

            January 22nd 2013 @ 6:12am
            biltongbek said | January 22nd 2013 @ 6:12am | ! Report

            There is a reason why it is called their off season mate, you expecting overplayed European rugby players to come play in the fastest tournament on earth?

            Ain’t gonna work mate.

            • January 22nd 2013 @ 6:18am
              mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 6:18am | ! Report

              biltongbek – i fully agree. no way a euro player will come straight into super and keep up. the speed and fitness level in super is far beyond what they can handle. look at haskell who was an english international class loosie. he struggled to make starting lineup @ the highlanders and only did due to injuries.

              • Roar Guru

                January 22nd 2013 @ 6:42am
                biltongbek said | January 22nd 2013 @ 6:42am | ! Report

                Especially not at the end of their season and in just a few weeks to adjust. If they do adjust in time it is all over before it began.

          • January 23rd 2013 @ 12:28pm
            Hightackle said | January 23rd 2013 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

            Dreamer.

      • January 22nd 2013 @ 5:37am
        mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 5:37am | ! Report

        johnno
        – who cares if a strategy was in place 12 months ago? that would’ve jus given the super coaches more time to moan
        – who cares about super rugby? first and foremost is the wallaby’s. arent u being a tad drammatic? “People’s livelihoods in other words and future employment are at stake here”, please spare me the over reaction. its not heart surgery its rugby
        – test rugby is not amatuer, it never has been.
        – if cheika and co cant handle being serviant to the test team then they need to p!ss off. were they still playing they wouldnt have this attitude.
        – i agree cheika should go back to europe if he thinks his lowly pretenders are even near the equivalent of the wallaby’s.
        – why should there be more consultation with sanzar? they dont own test rugby
        – “EG like compensation to super rugby sides , if they have a bad season etc” dont make me laugh, that would be 3-4 aus teams getting compensated every season and blaming the lions tour for the next 10 years
        – WTF, wheres the need for imports come from. aus has 5 teams in super, if u dont have the depth then u never should’ve been given a 4th and 5th team.

        johnno u have it backwards. super rugby is below test rugby. sounds like u prefer the euro model where the clubs have all the power and hold the test team to ransom. youre misguided.
        have some loyalty to your test team and the players who get a chance to have a shot at a lions tour. i cannot understand this australian attitude of whinging about super and state teams. in comparison to test rugy they mean nothing. state teams are here to serve, feed and support the test team. cheika and link need to tow the line else they can go to europe, with this attitude i cant see either ever getting the job off deans.

        • January 22nd 2013 @ 5:53am
          Johnno said | January 22nd 2013 @ 5:53am | ! Report

          mania,

          People’s livelihoods in other words and future employment are at stake here”, please spare me the over reaction. its not heart surgery its rugby. Mania it’s rugby , but it is pro rugby. Go and tell that to the administrators and coaches of these super rugby teams, who all have bills to pay and mortgages to pay mate, and risk being unemployed , when they have worked very hard to even just get to the super rugby top jobs in administration.

          -I think they will take a very different attitude to , “its just a game of rugby”. It;’s pro rugby, essentially playing for money and employment, not amateur rugby where the stakes are low, and your livelihood and employment are not on the line. Pro rugby industry like all pro sports industries are cut throat competitive industries, and rugby is no different, there is not a lot of job security as it is in pro sports, such a fickle cut throat industry , this makes there employent compromised , and reputations compromised , when seeking future employment having to show prospective employers poor super rugby results.

          -I don’t think it’s just a game of rugby” at the pro level where livelihoods in other words your pay packet, or risk being unemployed are at stake, as there are not a lot of jobs at the top end of pro sport as there is. So the consequences for failure can be job loss, thereof these super rugby teams don’t want to be compromised.

          “And who cares about super rugby”. Is there simply no such thing as super rugby fans in OZ mania. All those reds fans, should they just say oh well, we will just sacrifice our season reaching it’s potential for the national team the wallabies.

          Heck with that attitude why bother even have super rugby or have aussy teams in super rugby mania, if it is so meaningless and undervalued, then mania

          – “EG like compensation to super rugby sides , if they have a bad season etc” dont make me laugh .

          – Well yes compensation Mania. Once again on the food chain under your model are Aussy super rugby teams just essentially fodder, where there job is not reach there full potential.

          -How can a super rugby side even reach there full potential if they are basically just at the mercy of the wallabies. They can’t .

          -So yes many people like club rugby in rugby and soccer more than internationals. I like both equally, and don’t like seeing either model being devalued.

          -My point is the ARU or wallabies management , should of had consulted super rugby sides along way in advance with more strategic planning for reasons given above in my last 3 posts here.

          -And yes with your attitude mania, you pretty much de-value super rugby , for the fan, and the competition itself. There has to be blanche between national and club rugby , like in europe otherwise why bother even have super rugby then, your hardly going to attract a passionate fan base, if the super rugby teams are going to be kicked around like a rugby ball, anywhere anytime, without much consultation.

          -And it wouldn’t surprise me if Chiecka goes back to Japan or Europe, and even Link too. I’d find it frustrating to deal with as an administrator or coach this current what i believe is a lack of strategic planning or communication or consultation by all involved, with sorting out this Lions series and Lions tour games, it is turning into a mess currently right now.

          • January 22nd 2013 @ 6:14am
            mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 6:14am | ! Report

            johnno – theres a bigger loyalty here that youre missing and thats to the players. every opportunity should be given to the players to be available for this tour, which is a once in a life time opportunity. foremost at the test level, that is the epitome for every player to achieve, and secondarily at state level. everyone else, coaches, admin etc are secondary to the players. no players no game. no body goes to the game to watch the coaches and admin.
            link and cheika are being hypocrits and would be singing the same song as deans were they incharge of the national squad.
            “How can a super rugby side even reach there full potential if they are basically just at the mercy of the wallabies” the same way every other team does it by rising through adversity. winning a super title isnt and shouldnt be easy.
            the ultimate is test rugby. i cant understand how u can say the super and test rugby is equivalent.
            yes i do devalue super rugby when it comes to test. i enjoy super rugby but i enjoy test rugby more…because test rugby is more important.
            the europe model sx and its why NH teams are so weak imo.

            • January 22nd 2013 @ 8:22am
              Johnno said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:22am | ! Report

              mania, true they are all puppets. If Chieka or Link were the national coach, they would sing the praises of the ARU left right and centre. Any coach follows the group that pay them.
              But I am starting to think Chieka’s style may be suited better to Europe, where clubs have more power.
              But either way, super rugby has to have more priority, nut test rugby brings in the money. That’s why i am all for extending the super rugby season. I don’t enjoy the 3 test series now in the June test window, except the Lions series.
              I like test rugby better to overall. But I wonder long term what will pay more revenue in OZ, super rugby or test rugby.
              I think the ARU like the NZRU do, the ARU should takeover the ownership and establish more centralisation of aussy super rugby teams., so they could organise training programes more, so this sort of mess and nonsense wouldn’t be happening.

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 8:40am
                mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:40am | ! Report

                wow johnno. i’m just blown away with your stance. i’m so the opposite of u. i reckon super needs to be lessoned and test rugby have a bigger priority.

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 8:44am
                Johnno said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:44am | ! Report

                Well mania, i like super rugby and club rugby in general.
                I like club rugby league, and club soccer, too.
                As you said super rugby just gets devalued your prepared to for test rugby, why not just get rid of super rugby all together mania, as if you keep de-valuing the brand and product, why bother keep it.
                Do we may as well go down cricket’s model, where there is no such thing as state cricket fans, and no such thing then as super rugby fans.
                Coz if you muck it about to much that is where super rugby is headed in the future, there will no such thing as a super rugby fan.

              • Roar Guru

                January 22nd 2013 @ 8:50am
                biltongbek said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:50am | ! Report

                Johnno, not wanting to seem to be ganging up on you, but where is Super Rugby being compromised?

                Super Rugby has been like a behemoth that has been devouring any available piece of calendar over the past decade and a half.

                Everything else has been sacraficed to accommodate super rugby. Now for once Super Rugby has to take a step back and you protest for all its worth.

                Test rugby is the ultimate, if you make me choose between super rugby and test rugby, super rugby will lose out every time.

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 8:51am
                mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:51am | ! Report

                well johnno. i enjoy super but it has its place and its already encroaching on the rugby calendar and taking up way too much time. super does have its place and its for sorting out the men from the boys for test level.
                for me when i played any sport making national honours was the ultimate goal. i imagine all players at elite level would have this attitude. ask the players what they think is more important and i’m sure they’ll take national honours over super honour any day of the week.
                if you’d asked cheika and link when they were playing they would’ve said the same.
                super needs to be toned down. more is not better its just more.

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 9:00am
                Johnno said | January 22nd 2013 @ 9:00am | ! Report

                Biltonbek no worries not ganging up at all just good hard debate mate.
                Biltongbek and and mania , Guys more test rugby is being played than ever before.

                3-test window, 6 game RC, 1 off tests plus Euro tour, your looking around the 12-14 tests per year.

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 9:04am
                mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 9:04am | ! Report

                not a valid argument johnno as the same can be said about super rugby.
                and honestly the aus derbies last 2 seasons were pretty woeful. that kind of rugby i can do without

      • January 22nd 2013 @ 8:32am
        WW said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:32am | ! Report

        wallabies come first

        • January 22nd 2013 @ 8:39am
          Elisha Pearce said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:39am | ! Report

          “Provinces must realise Wallabies come first.” Woah! It’s Robbie Deans writing the insiders columns! It certainly isn’t Ewen McKenzie!

          • January 22nd 2013 @ 8:46am
            WW said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:46am | ! Report

            i think anyone with a brain should realise that with the lions touring australia to play the WALLABIES it should all be about the WALLABIES not the warm up games.

            even if the super teams played their best sides and won no one will care or remember that if the wallabies lose the test series.

            • January 22nd 2013 @ 10:05am
              formeropenside said | January 22nd 2013 @ 10:05am | ! Report

              Well, it all depends who Mad Robbie picks to play for the Wallabies – thats not necessarily the best team in the country.

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 10:17am
                WW said | January 22nd 2013 @ 10:17am | ! Report

                funny because i’ve never had a problem with his selections.

                you can’t agree with them all you know! they can’t all be queenslanders FOS!

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 10:50am
                Justin2 said | January 22nd 2013 @ 10:50am | ! Report

                WW – you are one hard core Deans fan. Even his most ardent supporters have questioned some selections…

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 11:31am
                WW said | January 22nd 2013 @ 11:31am | ! Report

                i don’t generally have a problem with his selections becasue i think 9 times out of 10 he gets it right and i am not so conceited that i think he should pick the exact same side that i would. but i don’t agree with every selection.

                eg i don’t agree that higginbotham should be anywhere near a starting xv but i recognise that all the wallaby coaches past present and future have a difficult job keeping everybody happy when making selections. so i don’t have a problem with deans selecting him despite that i disagree.

                the thing is deans has no requirement to choose the most popular team…. frankly the masses are never to be trusted… the masses are whinging, fickle you know whats…. and they would have xv higginbothams in the side if it was left to public opinion. ie crowd pleasers with no rugby substance.

                so no i don’t just accept the public perception that deans selects the wrong sides. he has after all brought through the likes of genia, pocock, joc, beale, ioane, tapuai etc etc

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 12:02pm
                Justin2 said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

                Some points are valid. Those players you mentioned pick themselves, I give very little credit to him for those guys. Someone like Timani, if he can improve Deans can have credit for.

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 12:21pm
                WW said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

                i see so the players he selected that became the nucleus he doesn’t get credit for because he got those right.

                lets not forget he selected genia from relative obscurity, pocock phased in ahead of the great G smith, taps after having missed the majority of the super xv 2012, JOC as a teenager when no one had heard of him hardly, picked beale out of position at fullback in 2010 (and he went on to get nominated for world player of the year), picked ioane after he was ignored for the 2007 rwc by Connoly, etc etc

                his talent id is remarkable

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 12:25pm
                mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

                ww – i agree with u in regards to deans talent id’ing during this tenure as aus coach.
                just another question tho that has nothing to do with the wallabies or this era and is something that is long in the past.
                deans was co coach of the AB’s with mitchell and was in charge of the backs. whats your stance on deans then dropping of nonu and cullen?

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 12:28pm
                Justin2 said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

                Wow so much inaccuracy it isnt funny in that.

                You think I am biased!

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 12:39pm
                WW said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

                J2all of what i said was factually correct

                mania wasn’t cullen past it when he got dropped? much like when deans let mortlock go.

                Cullen had come back not so great from a knee reconstruction from memory. and what happened to him? he played 4 or 5 season at munster where fans touted him ‘the greatest fullback that we never get to see’ such was his injury status at the club. indeed it was the right call… as it was for mortlock who also was never the same after a knee injury in around 2008 i think.

                and nonu for the first half of his career was a well known disciplinary liability.

                he deserved a place as much as fruean does today. all good to be able to play on the front foot but when you’re an all black any liability will keep you out of the side beacuse they’ll bring in someone who doesn’t give away penalties/doesn’t make stoopid decisions (as Nonu used to) or actually does work off the ball (my mail is that fruean simply doesn’t do enough work off the ball)

                it is my contention that Fruean will fix this, as nonu ficed his fall shorts, and in 10 years time we’ll probably be bewildered that he didn’t get selected in 2011/2012.

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 12:44pm
                mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

                ww – no cullen was coming back from injury but wasnt past it. he was no longer the best in the world (imo chris latham took that mantle) but he was still the best in NZ, yes better than benBlair, leonMcDonald and even milsMuliaina (who was a centre)
                wasnt till he got to munster that he had his worst injuries.
                mortlock was still an awesome leader. lets not forget deans dropped gSmth and he needed him in the ireland game at the WC
                u havent commented on nonu getting dropped by deans

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 12:49pm
                Jerry said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

                Nonu only played one season under Deans and wasn’t anything close to the player he’d become. It wasn’t until 2008 (after he’d been dropped a bunch of times by Henry too) that he started playing consistently.

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 12:51pm
                mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

                yes jerry. nonu had a big problem retaining the ball in contact areas where he’d often get isolated. also he hadnt developed his passing game to what it is now and kicking was nonexistent for him.
                still imo he was still a better centre than leonMcDonald the fullback was

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 12:52pm
                WW said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

                mani i forgot to comment on Nonu but edited my post for you.

                to reiterate cullen had lost a considerable amount of pace for 2003. he was damaged goods and without his pace he made very little sense as a fullback without a great kicking or passing game. it was the right call evident by the fact he did nothing at munster.

                G smith was interviewed last year and he said that he simply realised that he could not match pocock physically and on recognising this he chose to step down from the wallabies. he wasn’t dropped at all. deans still had him on his bench.

                ireland beat us without a specialist no 7 btw. i doubt we could’ve beaten them at all that day.

                mortlock was past it and losing him was the right call by deans.

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 12:56pm
                mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

                ww- i disagree about cullen but i concede that i am a huge fan of his so i’m a bit bias. cullen was the complete fullback in that he had an awesome passing, kicking and tackling game. there were no weaknesses in his game other than his team mates couldnt keep up with him
                yeah gSmith chose to go but deans should’ve had a word to the ARU to deny letting him go till after the WC. for totally selfish wallaby reasons though.
                mortlock had leadership skills to pass but was past it physically

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 12:58pm
                Justin2 said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

                WW – I suggest you look up the 2010 season at the Tahs and see where Beale played from round 7 onwards. Deans didnt move him to 15, he was already there.

                Deans did pick JOC, who was very well know at the time. Deans also played him out of position at 15 in an away Bledisloe Cup match. He was blurry awful that match too.

                Burgess was a dreadful 9 and many were scracthing their heads as to why Genia wasnt starting. Took Deans too long to blood him. Ill give him Cooper though, he chose him before many though he was ready.

                Taps has been obvious to many with a keen eye and he should have been the bolter in the RWC squad.

                Some of these guys are just freaks – Deans did NOT discover them.

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 1:03pm
                WW said | January 22nd 2013 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

                mania i too was a huge cullen fan and i still youtube his tries often. he was the greatest full back i ever saw but it was his running game not his kicking or passing that made him great. losing his pace was like samson losing his locks.

                G Smith retired from the wallabies, played one more season for the brumbies and went to france to cash in. (ended up playing some games at centre strangely) there was nothing deans or anyone could’ve done about that.

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 1:13pm
                Jerry said | January 22nd 2013 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

                Mania – Nonu’s never really produced at 13 even to this day, so I dunno if I’d concede he was better than MacDonald there.

                WW – Cullen was still performing in 03, he score 8 tries in 12 matches in the S12 that year and played well in the NPC.

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 1:16pm
                WW said | January 22nd 2013 @ 1:16pm | ! Report

                J2 genia was selected to make his test debut after he had started in 4 matches that season for the reds.

                beale was first selected by Deans in 2009 and came on as a winger. he played most of 2010 as inside centre with Onesi at fullback!!!! it wasn’t afyter his break out year under deans at fullback that he played at fullback each week for the tahs in 2011.

                JOC had also only made his super xv debut in round 10 of the 2008 before being selected by deans.

                pocock was another brought in before he’d cemented a regular start ahead of hodgson at the force and soon this exposure to test rugby off the bench got him ahead of g smith quicker than otherwise.

                i could go on but frankly these players were brought in ahead of schedule and this made them the players they are today ie automatic picks

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 1:46pm
                Justin2 said | January 22nd 2013 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

                WW – Beale came on as a sub. So lets not try and say he was a winger or anything like that as he played 10 during the mid week matches on that EOYT. He just missed going to the 07 WC along with Lucas so he was already well thought of.

                As I said I suggest you look up the tahs website he played every match from R7 at the Tahs in 2010 at 15, then was selected by Deans there.

                Genia had been on the scene for a few years, made his debut in 07. You are right he had played four starting matches in 09 prior to the Tri Nations. He had experience with the Reds from 07 and earlier.

                Playing JOC at 15 was a shocking call. The kid had played his last few matches at 12, never really playing 15 before. In an away Bledisloe for crying out loud. There is talent ID and there is stupidity!

                He was a boom colt, always going to make it. Deans can have credit for playing him if it suits you though I believe he stuffed him around somewhat as he has with many other players.

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 1:51pm
                WW said | January 22nd 2013 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

                J2 genia was picked from relative onscurity.. thank you for reiterating that! and for reiterating all of what i said.

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 7:52pm
                Justin2 said | January 22nd 2013 @ 7:52pm | ! Report

                You are a funny cat

              • January 23rd 2013 @ 2:24am
                Hightackle said | January 23rd 2013 @ 2:24am | ! Report

                Haters never miss an oportunity to show they are haters and nothing more.

            • January 22nd 2013 @ 1:56pm
              Hightackle said | January 22nd 2013 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

              Mitchell and Cullen were not getting on. Mitchell dropped Cullen.

    • Roar Guru

      January 22nd 2013 @ 6:00am
      Poth Ale said | January 22nd 2013 @ 6:00am | ! Report

      I’m a bit confused by this article:

      “Much debate was sparked last week by the ‘revelation’ from Queensland journalist Jim Morton of possible plans to stop Wallabies players playing for their states prior to the British and Irish Lions tour.”

      Does the writer mean that players would be stopped playing for their Super Rugby sides before the tour in June, or before the three test matches?

      • Roar Guru

        January 22nd 2013 @ 2:31pm
        jeznez said | January 22nd 2013 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

        Pot, Morton’s article stated that Deans wants to wrap the Wallabies up in cotton wool two weeks before the Test matches. Talking about resting from 8th of June before the first test on 22nd (since these players wouldn’t have had a game since the prior weekend would mean 3 weeks between matches.)

        This would mean that a depleted Reds side would face the Lions in a tour game and that the Brumbies v Rebels and Force v Waratahs Super Rugby derbies would be without the Wallabies as well.

        There is some angst over players missing out but the key question is whether three weeks between games is too long a rest period.

        • Roar Guru

          January 22nd 2013 @ 10:43pm
          Poth Ale said | January 22nd 2013 @ 10:43pm | ! Report

          If I recall correctly, Deans already stated that Wallabies would play in the midweek tour matches. Or is this now being reneged on?

          • Roar Guru

            January 23rd 2013 @ 12:25am
            jeznez said | January 23rd 2013 @ 12:25am | ! Report

            The Reds and Tahs are Saturday game so technically not mid-week!

    • January 22nd 2013 @ 6:18am
      Red Kev said | January 22nd 2013 @ 6:18am | ! Report

      I’m going to go out on a limb here and say “the insider” is a New South Welshman. The chip on the shoulder and the digs at McKenzie reveal it.
      I particularly liked this line about Reds players against Samoa in 2011 “Robbie Deans rested a fair few of them, but those who did play bombed.” You might want to watch the tape again Hoss, Higginbotham came on and played the only decent rugby by someone in a Wallaby jersey that day. And while Genia may not have been “mentally ready” to play he still came on and put in a performance twice as good as the one Phipps had delivered for the majority of the match.

      That said – good article, I can’t disagree with the premise. I do however disagree that three weeks in camp with Deans is more beneficial than staying with your Super Rugby team longer. Deans has had plenty of time to prep the Wallabies for previous campaigns (last years Rugby Championship comes to mind as an obvious example) and the Wallabies were still atrocious.

      • January 22nd 2013 @ 8:22am
        mark said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:22am | ! Report

        mccabe had a blinder that day. genia and beale came on and looked good also.

        the rest of them bombed

        higginbotham has been exactly what knowledgable rugby minds thought. a complete myth.

        • January 22nd 2013 @ 8:32am
          Red Kev said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:32am | ! Report

          I see you’ve found your way back to the site under name number 14. I have to disagree about McCabe, he had a shocker (although really it was just his normal match, it is just a shocker in context of what a real centre like Tapuai can do) – he caught the ball and ran at the Samoans which was very brave, but he didn’t pass or create any line bends or breaks.

          • January 22nd 2013 @ 8:36am
            WW said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:36am | ! Report

            good to see nothing has changed RK.. still trying to shoot down any one that didn’t play for the reds and anyone that isn’t a reds fan

          • January 23rd 2013 @ 3:10am
            Hightackle said | January 23rd 2013 @ 3:10am | ! Report

            Red Kev you are wrong.

            14 runs for 105 metres (averaging 7.5m per run; tied at most runs with Digby Ioane)
            12 runs over advantage line; 2 failed advantage line
            2 tackle busts
            5 passes
            4 tackles (1 dominant)
            14 breakdown involvements (excluding involvements after own runs; the most in the entire team)

            This was taken from video analysis on Green and Gold rugby. McCabe was excellent on that day.
            He was excellent in 2011 in general.

            • January 23rd 2013 @ 8:12am
              Red Kev said | January 23rd 2013 @ 8:12am | ! Report

              Forgive me for wanting someone other than Forrest Gump at inside centre. McCabe was crap, still is crap (although slightly less so after a season with Larkham, maybe in 5 years time he’ll be a half-decent centre).
              You and WW (and mark and Werewolf and eminem and whatever name he decides to use today) are going to stay shoulder deep in Deans no matter how poorly he selects or how badly the Wallabies perform – I know you don’t agree with me, I don’t expect anything but scyophantic drivel from either of you.

          • January 23rd 2013 @ 3:13am
            Hightackle said | January 23rd 2013 @ 3:13am | ! Report

            Didnt bend the line? He rarely failed. Speaking of failed…you just did.

      • January 22nd 2013 @ 8:45am
        Jagman said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:45am | ! Report

        I also remember Ioani having a good game. Rod Davies and Beau Robinson on the other hand… Bombed. No other word for it.

        • January 22nd 2013 @ 8:49am
          Red Kev said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:49am | ! Report

          Yeah but let’s all be honest – watching Rod Davies get touched up by Tuilangi and then tripping over blades of grass was pretty funny.

          • January 22nd 2013 @ 8:51am
            Jutsie said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:51am | ! Report

            Poor rod, he was on top after the world after the super finals and hasnt been sighted since he ran scared from tualigii

            • January 22nd 2013 @ 8:53am
              mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:53am | ! Report

              yeah davies folded faster than a bad poker player. agree with RK tho that it was funny watching tuilagi learn him good

              • Roar Guru

                January 22nd 2013 @ 2:33pm
                jeznez said | January 22nd 2013 @ 2:33pm | ! Report

                that ‘Smashed Em Bro’ segment of the top hits that day was immense, Davies and Tuilagii were in half of them.

        • January 22nd 2013 @ 9:34am
          WW said | January 22nd 2013 @ 9:34am | ! Report

          yes it just goes to show some that do well at super level aren’t cut out for test rugby…. i place higginbotham in that class and i think this has been proven correct

          • January 23rd 2013 @ 8:50pm
            soapit` said | January 23rd 2013 @ 8:50pm | ! Report

            despite being a regular fixture in the wallabies for the last 2 years. interesting version of proof.

      • January 22nd 2013 @ 11:11am
        Elisha Pearce said | January 22nd 2013 @ 11:11am | ! Report

        It’s very interesting that the column dedicates a bit of time talking about ‘leaks’ and who would leak without having their own interests at heart. I certainly got the idea the writer wasn’t happy about the leak at all, let alone what was leaked.
        But if you look at this as a whole you will remember that we are reading a column by someone who is an ‘insider’ (presumably inside rugby) that doesn’t give their name either!
        That makes every column under this by-line as much of a ‘leak’ as anything that might be quoted by journalists.
        After getting past the beef with leaks we see someone provide information as a “South African counterpart”. So that would make them someone with a similar position to the writer, who we don’t know… maybe there is a South African unknown columnist with player burden interests, too? He’s a friend and a mate too. So that makes it more just speculation than a leak at least.
        But this is all very meta…
        At least the columnist has said he thought the Wallabies preparation for a few notable matches was “rubbish”. I agree. The scheduling of that Scotland game at all was also rubbish!
        (Further to that I think the ‘insider’ is an ARU buddy because the scheduling of that Scotland loss was probably poorer than any preparation issues.)

        • January 22nd 2013 @ 11:15am
          mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 11:15am | ! Report

          sounds like campo to me

          • January 22nd 2013 @ 11:25am
            Elisha Pearce said | January 22nd 2013 @ 11:25am | ! Report

            I don’t know if Campo could be considered a ‘counterpart’ to anyone Mania!
            He’s far too unique an individual isn’t he? Hehe

            • January 22nd 2013 @ 11:29am
              mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 11:29am | ! Report

              yeah agree elisha. in campo’s eyes no ones good enough to be his counter. i’m just guessing, and badly

        • January 22nd 2013 @ 12:52pm
          Who Needs Melon said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

          Excellent point Elisha!

          • Columnist

            January 22nd 2013 @ 1:37pm
            Elisha Pearce said | January 22nd 2013 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

            On an ARU related point, but not todays article:
            Did anyone else get the ARU email send out today!?!?!?!?
            They were hawking memberships that were only $2500!! Is this not reason 241 why we are struggling with the other codes. Nothing says “we’re trying to make our sport appeal to a single, small, elitist demographic” than offering 2500 memberships that actually only include tickets to 2 games.
            Is there more value in these than I can see? Is the access to the exclusive bar worth, say $1000? Am I missing something?

            • Roar Guru

              January 22nd 2013 @ 2:40pm
              jeznez said | January 22nd 2013 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

              Yeah, I saw that Elisha – the tickets and jumper it gets you are worth about 1,000 meaning that the bar access, priority on other ticket purchases, invitations to functions etc is deemed worth 1,500 – is definitely a bit rich.

      • January 22nd 2013 @ 2:00pm
        Hightackle said | January 22nd 2013 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

        McKenzie is born in Vic and played and coached in NSW Red Kev. He is not a Queenslander and is far more a NSW player/Coach.

        • January 22nd 2013 @ 2:19pm
          Red Kev said | January 22nd 2013 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

          Interesting … can you confirm that water is wet too? How about what colour an orange is?

          • January 23rd 2013 @ 2:12am
            Hightackle said | January 23rd 2013 @ 2:12am | ! Report

            Im not sure about orange but I know McKenzie isnt Red. Something that you seem to forget…over and over and over again.
            Im pretty sure you know where Deans is from.

            Great detective work though. You used the old lack-of-sense trick to figure out where the author is from.

            • January 23rd 2013 @ 8:53pm
              soapit` said | January 23rd 2013 @ 8:53pm | ! Report

              you dont understand qlders. anyone who throws on their jersey is a qlder for as long as they do so. its got nothing to do with where you come from.

    • January 22nd 2013 @ 6:58am
      nickoldschool said | January 22nd 2013 @ 6:58am | ! Report

      “And this is, in a nutshell, the crux of the question this issue raises for the game in this country. Shouldn’t it be about Australian rugby, that being the Wallabies, first?”

      No, the wallabies do not solely represent ‘Australian rugby”. Everyone who play rugby in Oz are Australian rugby. For me this assumption that everything should be made to please the national team is wrong. There should be talks between all parties instead of one side, i.e RD, dictating to provinces what they think is the best for the national squad. Clubs and franchises are the ones who build international players, who train them, coach them, develop them and pay them. I think these ppl who invest time and money on players deserve at least to be consulted rather then be told when they should release the players full stop. Rugby is a team sport and all Oz rugby is one big team. No need to be elitist and dictatorial.

      • January 22nd 2013 @ 8:41am
        Sailosi said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:41am | ! Report

        Exactly right. The ARU’s obsession with the national team has well and truly stuffed rugby in Australia. I couldn’t give a care in the world about the Wallabies, I don’t enjoy international rugby. I’m a Waratahs member who supports the Waratahs, not the Wallabies. Super rugby is already at risk of being seen as a 5 month long training camp fir the national team or as some kind of glorified academy system.

        • January 22nd 2013 @ 8:46am
          mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:46am | ! Report

          i’m kind of understanding how the wallaby’s have fallen so far on the international stage.
          in nz nothing trumps the AB’s. thats how they got to be number #1. the AB’s is 4 million strong team.

          • January 22nd 2013 @ 8:47am
            Red Kev said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:47am | ! Report

            That’s because New Zealand has nothing else but the All Blacks – unless you count shearing sheep and watching mud boil.

            • Roar Guru

              January 22nd 2013 @ 8:54am
              biltongbek said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:54am | ! Report

              A bit harsh there mate?

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 8:58am
                mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:58am | ! Report

                biltongbek – let him have his personal cheap shots. it doesnt matter to the argument and should be ignored. if u listen long enough RK does occassionally have something worth saying, once u sift thru all the bulsht

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 8:58am
                Red Kev said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:58am | ! Report

                Automatic reaction – I have a lot of kiwi mates and I enjoy stirring 🙂

              • Roar Guru

                January 22nd 2013 @ 9:03am
                biltongbek said | January 22nd 2013 @ 9:03am | ! Report

                Yeah I have noticed RK and myself do surprisingly agree on some topics, every now and then we don’t 😉

            • January 22nd 2013 @ 8:55am
              mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:55am | ! Report

              you forget the rugby league world cup. we look at the bledisloe cup a lot just for fun, but after 10 years its getting pretty boring

            • January 23rd 2013 @ 2:18am
              Hightackle said | January 23rd 2013 @ 2:18am | ! Report

              No we have the WC, the Bledisloe, the 4 nats trophy and the super title too.

              I live in Australia but I have to send home to NZ to get something to drink out of…BECUZ NZ HAS ALL THE CUPS.

              • January 23rd 2013 @ 4:20pm
                GWS said | January 23rd 2013 @ 4:20pm | ! Report

                And you have very little modesty…

              • January 23rd 2013 @ 8:56pm
                soapit` said | January 23rd 2013 @ 8:56pm | ! Report

                you could probably do with a few less milkshakes anyway.

                couldnt we all

          • January 22nd 2013 @ 9:04am
            nickoldschool said | January 22nd 2013 @ 9:04am | ! Report

            Mania, NZ is a unique case: sure everything is done to accommodate the ABs, yet kiwi franchises are still successful at SR level, the ITM cup is a great comp etc! You guys have such depth there that you can rest 15 players for half a season and get the job done at sr level. No other country has this luxury that’s why I think negotiating rather than imposing wallabies will is better IMO.

            Look what’s happening here: almost everything is done to accommodate the wallabies, yet they aren’t THAT successful and the SR franchises are far from dominant either.

            • January 22nd 2013 @ 9:11am
              mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 9:11am | ! Report

              nickoldschool its because we’re such a small country. basically ther are 4 million ppl interested in the wellbeing of the AB’s.
              dunno why or how aus rugby has fallen so far. from the hey day of gregan and larkham all of a sudden the playing stocks are so low, but its the attitude as well. players more interested in their brand than team contribution.

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 10:52pm
                Bakkies said | January 22nd 2013 @ 10:52pm | ! Report

                Care for the well being of the All Blacks has seen crowds spiral down at Super Rugby and NPC games in the big centres. Go back to the early days of Super 12 and the stadiums were full, except for Hamilton, the NPC had excellent crowds and the All Blacks played matches in it. Even in poor weather the stadiums were packed.

                Ever since Henry pulled players out of Super Rugby the crowds have dropped off. The NPC crowds are really poor. The Canes used to get 25,000 to their matches and now they are lucky to get 10,000. The NZRU and some of the Super Rugby franchises have taken their fans for granted so they have stayed at home.

              • January 23rd 2013 @ 5:03am
                mania said | January 23rd 2013 @ 5:03am | ! Report

                bakkies – i dont understand how supporting the AB’s is detrimental to nz rugby. i’m just amazed that this is such a prevalent mentality. the national team is what every player wants to play for. the AB’s ispire youths to play who eventually rise thru the ranks to become AB’s and inspire the next generation.
                the fall in canes attendence might have something to do with nonu and hore being dropped maybe? despite this article that says that canes are more popular than ever?
                http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/super-rugby/8209802/Former-Hurricanes-fans-rediscover-love-for-team
                where are u getting your information from?
                NPC crowds suffered in 2011 & 2012 but that was due to the WC and having such an intense shortened season. it was rugby being shoved down our throats just like super is doing with its increased teams that arent deserved.
                i blame super as the season is so long and a good portion of the games (aus derbies much?) were way below par and did more damge for supers reputation than NRL.

            • January 22nd 2013 @ 9:57am
              richard said | January 22nd 2013 @ 9:57am | ! Report

              NOS, just an observation, but this constant reference to depth in NZ rugby is to me a myth.

              Looking at the current ab side,I believe they are weak in a number of positions – 6,8 (no real back-up to Read) and even most of the tight five, especially at hooker.Hardly a ringing endorsement for our so-called “depth”.

              Where is this depth,unless you’re referring to just SR level and below, in which case I would agree with you.

              But,while SR is the highest level below test rugby in this part of the world, form in this comp doesn’t always transfer to the highest level – test footy.

              • January 23rd 2013 @ 2:35am
                Hightackle said | January 23rd 2013 @ 2:35am | ! Report

                NZ having depth is not a myth.
                NZ has the most depth of any rugby nation in the world.
                At 6 there is no clear back up now but ay the start of 2012 it was Vito, Thompson, Kaino, Messam. Its just that Thompson and Kaino have just left and the next 6 is not revealed.
                Shields, L.Whitelock, S.Cane and others will fill that gap.

              • January 23rd 2013 @ 6:30am
                richard said | January 23rd 2013 @ 6:30am | ! Report

                Couldn’t disagree more.Many of those players are adequate,not world class.Maybe Brad Shields at 6 has the potential to be world class.Cane to me is unproven at this level,and Australia with Gill and Hooper have more potential there IMO.We have a differing view of what constitutes depth,as I said,I view it in terms of world class players,not “good” players.

                I’ll give you an example of what I mean – who would you prefer; Launchbury and Etzebeth in your second row (truly w.c) or the AB second row(good,but nothing more).NZ may have depth,but it is only depth in terms of good players,hardly great ones.

                The teams with the greatest depth are SA and England,not NZ.

              • January 23rd 2013 @ 6:44am
                mania said | January 23rd 2013 @ 6:44am | ! Report

                richard thats all opinion. in return to your gill and hooper i’d like to point out that we have mattTodd and lukeBraid and a new up and comer who i think is going to go a long way in ardie savea
                but this is detracting from the point. having depth and the best players of any posistion is by far second place to how well a player contributes to the over all team work.
                eg stephenDonald is not the best 1st5 in the world by any stretch but he was exactly what the AB’s needed in the WC finals. not only did he kick the winning goal he had a flawless match, hustled immensely and contributed a lot to the over all performance. he didnt have to be the best, he just had to not ruin the team efforts and have a positive contribution.
                nz is #1 not only because of the high class players we have but more importantly the class of the team work these guys achieve when they’re together.
                btw etzbeth is a freak and could potentially be a once in a life time player. but saying that imo samWhitelock is better as he has a huger workload, better accuracy, great set pieces and has had a lot more to time to mature. etzbeth is a god send but he needs a couple of seasons to refine his game.

              • January 23rd 2013 @ 12:59pm
                Hightackle said | January 23rd 2013 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

              • January 23rd 2013 @ 1:01pm
                Hightackle said | January 23rd 2013 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

                I think that is absurd.
                Read
                McCaw
                Jane
                Carter
                Dagg
                SBW/Nonu
                There are 6 players in the world 15. 9 other countries in the top 10 supply 9, NZ by itself supplies 6.

                Also you missed my point about the players to back up 6. Yes they are unproven. Unproven does not equal not there. Like I said, at the start of 2012 I would argue that NZ had the MOST depth at 6 along with SA.

                SA has to play Hougaard on the wing if Habana or JP go down.
                NZ has Guildford, Jane, Kahui, Savea, Gear, Ranger, Masaga, B.Smith etc.

                Centres they have Kahui, C.Smith, Ellison, Ranger, Fruean.

                Locks they have Rettalick, Romano, Clarke, Williams, Boric, Hoeata, Donnelly and others.

                #10 They have Carter, Cruden, Barrett, Taylor, Slade. Not to mention guys overseas like Evans, Donald, McAlister.

                Imo no other country has the depth of quality player that NZ does and thats why NZ does so well. If any player gets injured, the replacement is sometimes even better.

            • January 23rd 2013 @ 11:21am
              Bakkies said | January 23rd 2013 @ 11:21am | ! Report

              ”bakkies – i dont understand how supporting the AB’s is detrimental to nz rugby. i’m just amazed that this is such a prevalent mentality. the national team is what every player wants to play for. the AB’s ispire youths to play who eventually rise thru the ranks to become AB’s and inspire the next generation.
              the fall in canes attendence might have something to do with nonu and hore being dropped maybe? despite this article that says that canes are more popular than ever?
              http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/super-rugby/8209802/Former-Hurricanes-fans-rediscover-love-for-team
              where are u getting your information from?
              NPC crowds suffered in 2011 & 2012 but that was due to the WC and having such an intense shortened season. it was rugby being shoved down our throats just like super is doing with its increased teams that arent deserved.
              i blame super as the season is so long and a good portion of the games (aus derbies much?) were way below par and did more damge for supers reputation than NRL.”

              What you don’t get is there is a difference between supporting the All Blacks then ripping the guts out of the NPC and pulling players out of Super Rugby. There is more to Rugby then just the All Blacks. Super Rugby is good quality but a lot of the games are played in front of poor crowds. This wasn’t happening 10 years ago apart from at the Chiefs home games. The sabbaticals are a joke and an insult to paying fans of the Super Rugby teams. McCaw is going to be paid to sit on a beach while he is laughing his way to the bank, some say he deserves it but if his body is struggling don’t offer a 4 year contract to a 30 year old.

              You have to be deluded to think it’s just 2011 and 2012 that had poor crowds in the NPC. For the poor crowds in 2008 and 2009 are you going to use the RWC as an excuse? When you see 12,000 people in an attendance at a Final you know that there are deeper issues then Rugby overload. Since 2008 the attendance for the Final has been below 15,000. I remember the 2000 Final when there over 30,000 fans in attendance. Provincial unions like Otago have had financial difficulties. The NZRU isn’t there to bail out its constituents.

              Re the Canes. More popular then ever? Lets be the judge when these vast array of empty seats are being filled up by paying spectators. Their crowds have been poor for some time.

              • January 23rd 2013 @ 11:36am
                mania said | January 23rd 2013 @ 11:36am | ! Report

                bakkies – super is to blame for the guts being torn out of NPC. and even if it was the AB’s, tough cookies. its national representitive rugby. the pinnacle of every country!
                i agree there is more to rugby than just the AB’s. all domestic rugby should be in support of the national squad.
                the super product 10 years ago was much more exciting because the level of play was better. 10 years ago there were only 3 aus teams which was a good level and aus had enough players for it. less teams meant better quality.
                mccaw is an international player. he has a much more important role and responsibilty as an AB than a sader. if NZRFU want to sign him up for 4 years then let them. his value as a mentor alone is invaluable.
                the poor crowds imo are due to super rugby over saturating the rugby calendar. i didnt bring up the crowds in 08 and 09. thats for other reasons but lets focus on the latest seasons. rugby attendence maybe down in nz, but playing numbers are just as high as ever. like most kids kiwi’s prefer to play more than just watch, except for AB’s games. then its pretty even.
                wow yeah nz must be suffering. winning every cup there is to be had is proof that theres a decline in NZ rugby.
                may the decline long continue!!

              • January 23rd 2013 @ 11:40am
                mania said | January 23rd 2013 @ 11:40am | ! Report

                ps – bakkies – every year mccaw gets written off and ppl say this is the one where he’ll have to retire or lose his role as the best of the best. each year he keeps proving them wrong. last season again richie was up for irb player of the year.
                mccaw has defied logic and remained the best player in the best team in the world as captain.
                a little loyalty to the king is the least that he deserves for everything he has done for nz rugby. dont hate him cos u aint him

              • January 23rd 2013 @ 12:09pm
                Bakkies said | January 23rd 2013 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

                ”bakkies – super is to blame for the guts being torn out of NPC. and even if it was the AB’s, tough cookies. its national representitive rugby. the pinnacle of every country!
                i agree there is more to rugby than just the AB’s. all domestic rugby should be in support of the national squad.
                the super product 10 years ago was much more exciting because the level of play was better. 10 years ago there were only 3 aus teams which was a good level and aus had enough players for it. less teams meant better quality.
                mccaw is an international player. he has a much more important role and responsibilty as an AB than a sader. if NZRFU want to sign him up for 4 years then let them. his value as a mentor alone is invaluable.
                the poor crowds imo are due to super rugby over saturating the rugby calendar. i didnt bring up the crowds in 08 and 09. thats for other reasons but lets focus on the latest seasons. rugby attendence maybe down in nz, but playing numbers are just as high as ever. like most kids kiwi’s prefer to play more than just watch, except for AB’s games. then its pretty even.
                wow yeah nz must be suffering. winning every cup there is to be had is proof that theres a decline in NZ rugby.
                may the decline long continue!!”

                Yes test Rugby may be the pinnacle of Rugby but it’s not the be all and end all. So by your book stuff Otago, Tasman, Southland etc let them go broke as long as the All Blacks are winning I will be happy is not the right attitude towards the game. If the grassroots and provinces go bust you will lose fans, history and Rugby players. Look at Wales too much focus on team Wales has ripped the guts out of the underfunded regional set up. The attendances are poor, players are leaving, there is talk that the Ospreys their most successful region of being scrapped due to petty politics. As long as team Wales are winning the odd Grand Slam the WRU will remain happy. They aren’t listening to the supporters, taking people for granted. One Rugby stronghold in the valleys lost its regional team after one season. The WRU is cutting off the hand that feeds them the regions because they don’t care.

                When I coach at my grassroots club I don’t think about the national team. I think about the club and it winning a Rugby game.

                Re McCaw. Regardless of his stature as an All Black no union should pay a player to sit on the sideline while he is fit to perform as an employer.

              • January 23rd 2013 @ 12:24pm
                mania said | January 23rd 2013 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

                no bakkies now your putting words in my mouth. i didnt say stuff the provinces. and i didnt say that test “may be” the pinacle, it “IS” the pinancle
                your obviously losing this argument and getting desperate. grassroots rugby is the secret to the success of the AB’s. without grassroots there would be no AB’s. but its cyclic and without the AB’s no one would want to play rugby. its symbiotic and u cant have one without the other.
                if you really were a coach you’d know this and you should be encouraging all your charges to make to the national team. didnt u ever play? didnt u ever want to be the best that u could be? dont u have a responsibilty to encourage your kids to strive to be the best that they can be?
                ps – it doesnt count as grassroots if your just pampering your private school boys.

              • January 23rd 2013 @ 3:31pm
                richard said | January 23rd 2013 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

                “There is more to rugby than just the All Blacks” – in a NZ context, you couldn’t be more spot on.

                The NZRU are running the risk of undermining future nz success by ignoring the grassroots.

                But try telling Tew that.

              • Roar Guru

                January 23rd 2013 @ 5:33pm
                biltongbek said | January 23rd 2013 @ 5:33pm | ! Report

                I find it disheartening that some believe test rugby is not the pinnacle of rugby. If test rugby is compromised for the sake of club and Provincial rugby or the real culprits super rugby, then what will happen to the sport?

                Rich suits from European countries will basically just sign bigger and bigger checks to further their clubs.

                Countries with smaller economies will become (more than already happening) feeder systems for other nations.

                Pride and patriotism will then truly be dead.

              • January 23rd 2013 @ 9:36pm
                Bakkies said | January 23rd 2013 @ 9:36pm | ! Report

                ”no bakkies now your putting words in my mouth. i didnt say stuff the provinces. and i didnt say that test “may be” the pinacle, it “IS” the pinancle
                your obviously losing this argument and getting desperate. grassroots rugby is the secret to the success of the AB’s. without grassroots there would be no AB’s. but its cyclic and without the AB’s no one would want to play rugby. its symbiotic and u cant have one without the other.
                if you really were a coach you’d know this and you should be encouraging all your charges to make to the national team. didnt u ever play? didnt u ever want to be the best that u could be? dont u have a responsibilty to encourage your kids to strive to be the best that they can be?
                ps – it doesnt count as grassroots if your just pampering your private school boys.”

                The French, Irish and English don’t see test Rugby as the pinnacle. In your world it is, but you have to consider that Rugby people from other countries have different viewpoints. Comprehend! I am not losing this argument you aren’t seeing it from the other side and have a black and white viewpoint.

                As for your comment about coaches encouraging their kids to make the national side. For the record I coach kids teams at a club that is inclusive. These kids at the age of 10 are there to learn the game with enjoyment. Test Rugby doesn’t enter the equation, there is no rep team in my province for 10 years old so the focus is to improve their Rugby not build future test players. Of course I played Rugby like James has pointed out with shades of grey that only a minority make the test side so players like myself strive to be the best player I can possibly be at my level. I am 31 so test Rugby is irrelevant to me as a player. You say that without the All Blacks people wouldn’t play Rugby you couldn’t be more wrong. People also play Rugby because they love the game and what comes with it, not because there is a test side. In a lot of countries outside of the top 3 tiers people play Rugby because they want to play not to become a test player. If you seen it as a expat Rugby is a way of meeting people, networking and provide travel opportunities. They aren’t joining a club to strive to be a test player. You need to start thinking from a different perspective.

              • January 24th 2013 @ 5:08am
                mania said | January 24th 2013 @ 5:08am | ! Report

                i’m sorry bakkies but your irresponsible and have a duty towards your charges to inspire them to be all they can be. if u dont tell them the path of where rugby can take them how are they going to know? and please stop referring this back to the AB’s all the time. AB’s arent to blame for the demise of aus rugby. this argument is about loyalty to the national side which in your case is the Wallaby’s.
                basically its your fault bakkies and coaches like you all over aus not doing their job properly for the demise of aus rugby. just because u couldnt make it to the higher echelons of rugby doesnt mean that the kids u coach cant. ok youve reached your potential but every single one of those kids havent. what a loser attitude saying that most of them wont make the national side so you just dont map out for them at all how to reach higher honours.
                enjoying the game is important. enjoyment guarantees longevity if the body hold outs. but at some stage the kids need to be made aware that rugby can give them some awesome opportunities to see the world and multiply all the social niceities you espouse a hundred fold on an international level.
                bakkies your short sighted and ripping your kids off.

              • January 24th 2013 @ 7:08am
                Justin2 said | January 24th 2013 @ 7:08am | ! Report

                You need help mania, goodness what a viewpoint.

              • January 24th 2013 @ 7:18am
                mania said | January 24th 2013 @ 7:18am | ! Report

                justin2 – what in particular? your not phased by bakkies coaching technique? as a coach i’m appalled he doesnt try to instil a pride into his charges for the national team and inject a belief into them that they can make the national team. its all part of the fun playing and striving to be better

              • January 24th 2013 @ 9:19am
                Justin2 said | January 24th 2013 @ 9:19am | ! Report

                At 10 they should be enjoying the game as much as possible not being driven to make the national team. They are kids with a thousand other things going on in their little lives.

                National honours? That will take care of itself for the majority not by something they had drilled into them at 10 in my opinion. Sounds like cold war Russia or China to me…

              • January 24th 2013 @ 9:30am
                mania said | January 24th 2013 @ 9:30am | ! Report

                hey i’m not saying shove it down their throat like super rugby is. ask them which national player they like. and ask would they like to be a (insert antional team here) one day. if your coaching kids you should know how to talk to them with out being intimidating or over bearing.
                dont sound like the PC brigade that says every one wins and every one deserves a medal and we shouldnt make them too competitive because they’ll cry and be disapoiinted when they lose.
                and this is how the demise of aus rugby got to where it is. the wallaby’s cannot succeed if its grassroots isnt working.
                i have a 5 year old who plays football and he knows about competing , hard work, practising/training and team work. he knows about and loves watching the phoenix (wellington team who we’ve gone to see every home game) and who the allWhites are, but he’d prefer to be an allBlack.

              • January 24th 2013 @ 10:41am
                Bakkies said | January 24th 2013 @ 10:41am | ! Report

                ”i’m sorry bakkies but your irresponsible and have a duty towards your charges to inspire them to be all they can be. if u dont tell them the path of where rugby can take them how are they going to know? and please stop referring this back to the AB’s all the time. AB’s arent to blame for the demise of aus rugby. this argument is about loyalty to the national side which in your case is the Wallaby’s.
                basically its your fault bakkies and coaches like you all over aus not doing their job properly for the demise of aus rugby. just because u couldnt make it to the higher echelons of rugby doesnt mean that the kids u coach cant. ok youve reached your potential but every single one of those kids havent. what a loser attitude saying that most of them wont make the national side so you just dont map out for them at all how to reach higher honours.
                enjoying the game is important. enjoyment guarantees longevity if the body hold outs. but at some stage the kids need to be made aware that rugby can give them some awesome opportunities to see the world and multiply all the social niceities you espouse a hundred fold on an international level.
                bakkies your short sighted and ripping your kids off.”

                What utter nonsense and a completely ignorant viewpoint.

                First of all I coach in Ireland. Kids at the age of 10 don’t even play competition Rugby for Cups, Leagues, so they aren’t driven to a point of delusion while they are learning how to play the game of Rugby. Rugby has been working hard over the last ten years to get more kids playing Rugby and they are doing a great job, we aren’t there to model test players at the age of 9/10. Rep squads don’t kick until they are 13 or 14 and it’s up to the provincial branch to pick them. I have 30 players in my squad only a handful may make regional/provincial squads when they get older so I have a responsibility to my club not just the IRFU provincial branch to ensure that they are enjoying their Rugby and continue playing when they are adults. The other alternatives are soccer, GAA or sitting at home. You have to be realistic.

                The kids know full well where Rugby can take them. They watch plenty of provincial and test Rugby to know what they can achieve. They aren’t stupid and we don’t talk down to them. You will lose the players talking to them like they are idiots. Kids know more about the game these days compared to when I was growing up. They have full access to the game on their computers, tv, backyard, Rugby club.

                We only train on Saturdays when there are no matches scheduled we don’t have time to waste to talk about who they idolise. When they do talk to us about Rugby it’s generally about their own game and how they will like to improve rather then about Paul O’Connell and Brian O’Driscoll.

              • January 24th 2013 @ 11:01am
                mania said | January 24th 2013 @ 11:01am | ! Report

                ok Bakkies. firstly i apologise for making you sound like your not serving your kids properly. anyone whose willing to coach, especially age grade should be given a medal and cherished as a national treasure. theres never enough coaches and the key to proper developement is getting it right in the age grades.
                i coached gridiron and rugby (as well as martial arts). rugby under 10’s thru to first XV, gridiron i coached juniors who were aged between 14 -17.
                i dont know the rugby environment in ireland but i imagine its a lot more diffilcult than in NZ.

                i’ll just let this to lie because your not going to convince me and this will just escalate and achieve nothing. keep up the good work.

              • January 24th 2013 @ 11:10am
                Justin2 said | January 24th 2013 @ 11:10am | ! Report

                Your last few lines are your best mania…

              • January 24th 2013 @ 11:11am
                mania said | January 24th 2013 @ 11:11am | ! Report

                the lines i run are better

              • January 24th 2013 @ 11:21am
                Bakkies said | January 24th 2013 @ 11:21am | ! Report

                ”ok Bakkies. firstly i apologise for making you sound like your not serving your kids properly. anyone whose willing to coach, especially age grade should be given a medal and cherished as a national treasure. theres never enough coaches and the key to proper developement is getting it right in the age grades.
                i coached gridiron and rugby (as well as martial arts). rugby under 10′s thru to first XV, gridiron i coached juniors who were aged between 14 -17.
                i dont know the rugby environment in ireland but i imagine its a lot more diffilcult than in NZ.

                i’ll just let this to lie because your not going to convince me and this will just escalate and achieve nothing. keep up the good work.”

                That’s no problem. The IRFU have changed the pathways here since 2009 and England is looking at doing the same where they have stopped competition Rugby from under 8s to under 12s so they are focussing more on developing skills in a less intense environment. There is a code of conduct for parents and coaches (I haven’t heard of any incidents at mini Rugby fixtures here involving parents and coaches going out of control). I do have some issues with the set up here that they need to be training more often as it’s common for clubs not to schedule midweek sessions for u10, 11s and 12s. However we don’t want Rugby ending up like Soccer where 5 year olds are sent abroad to clubs like Barcelona, I think recently there was a case of a 2 year old being earmarked as a potential star in the future.

                We are picking up a lot more coaches here in Ireland. It’s common to have around 30 prospective coaches at each mini Rugby coaching course. There are a load of coaches who haven’t played Rugby before. We have at least 3 coaches per age group at my club they have really put a focus on getting the right set up for the younger players and coaches. Some kids aren’t as well drilled in comparison to players their age in Aus and NZ in terms of back play, I have had to fix that with my team. The forward play for their age group is exceptional especially with pilfering and counter rucking. It’s up to individual coaches to see past the conservatism that exists in Irish Rugby towards tactics, having backgrounds in different, link play. Schools players are able to work on it more and they are driven heavily. The club game is closing the gap slightly particularly in rural GAA areas, there are good players out there and their numbers are good.

              • January 24th 2013 @ 11:37am
                mania said | January 24th 2013 @ 11:37am | ! Report

                see bakkies i disagree removing the competition from under 8’s – 12. but the environment your in is way harder to coach than for me. when i coached the under 10’s most kids knew who they wanted to play like and most knew what position they wanted to play, unfortunately they all predominantly wanted to be #7 (or #10 in carlos spencers day)
                my 5yr old loves football because his mates are with him at nursery grade. but they dont actually play proper games. about 50 kids turn up have drills then get split into teams and play each other then rotate. he almost always has some of his mates in his team.
                my son loves winning but more importantly he has learnt to cope with losing. last game he learnt that sometimes no matter how well he plays his team can still lose. every week he learns something new and teaches me even more.

              • January 24th 2013 @ 11:53am
                Bakkies said | January 24th 2013 @ 11:53am | ! Report

                The environment isn’t that difficult. Instead of competition matches we have match days against two other clubs (we call them blitzes) so they have two or three matches against different types of teams and playing styles. There are also festivals so they get to play a variety of teams rather then being pigeon holed in to a league competition against the same opponents. When they get to under 13s they play league matches and friendlies so there is a mix. They get competition and games against other clubs to give them different challenges.

                Most kids in my team can play up to three different positions so we have depth cover in case of injuries and players unable to turn up to a match. they don’t really decide on who they want to play like. We are developing a core crop of players at 9 and 10 so they learn the ropes of the position. They still get matches on the wing and in the centres. There are obviously kids that you wouldn’t put in to a front row but they have multi skills so they can do things that range from ruck clean outs to fixing a defender in attack. The backs who get sucked in to mauls know what to do. I have seen under 16s teams at my club who don’t have the skill range that the mini players have. They were brought up mostly on a different pathway where they played competitive league matches from the age of 7 at least and training wasn’t as broad. That’s why there has been a changing of coaching directive to focus on offloading, multi skilling. I suspect it has come from people like Joe Schmidt and Rob Penney.

              • January 24th 2013 @ 12:13pm
                mania said | January 24th 2013 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

                yeah bakkies. my under 10’s could play at least 3 positions. the position they wanted to play, the position their body type was suited to and then the position we needed them to play.
                i’m in agreeance with u in that i taught all my kids how to play in the forwards first, so that all of them knew what to do at the rucks and mauls.
                those kids without as much skill as your boys is common. i see alot of coaches coach their players for the good of the team and not for the good of the kid. when i have skill set drills i make all the kids partake, eg bombs defusing, kicking out of hand, kicking for goal, scrummaging, mauling. age grade is where all the basics should be taught but most coaches only care about winning. so the fat kid that wants to be carlos spencer doesnt get a look in at learning 1st5 skills. its harder to win doing it this way but so much more rewarding when you got the fat kid kicking the winning goal for the day.
                its a thankless task that no one really realises hw much u do for the kids but its really rewarding. like doing a wee in your dark pants. you get a warm feeling but hardly anyone notices

              • January 24th 2013 @ 9:21pm
                Bakkies said | January 24th 2013 @ 9:21pm | ! Report

                We don’t have any fat kids in the squad so we pick the lads who are good on the deck and in the tight in the pack. We only have 5 man scrums at this stage. The team has about 5 kids who can place kick but we don’t play full field until they are u13. At their level being able to drop kick is more important (restarts) and encourage them not to kick so they learn how to work their way up the pitch.

                Before I joined the squad the kids were very forward oriented, didn’t use up much space, the passing wasn’t good and they ran lateral in to other players channels. Now they are all offloading, scrumhalfs are sniping the fringes, the backs create more space and have better length on their pass. Backline alignment is a problem as they used to stand very flat now they hit the line from a bit of depth.

                We addressed the skills in less then a season, playing a lot of games at training has helped. If they aren’t well drilled by the time they hit under 16s they will carry bad habits to senior levels.

          • January 22nd 2013 @ 9:20am
            Sailosi said | January 22nd 2013 @ 9:20am | ! Report

            As an Australian I take no real satisfaction in having our rugby team ranked number 1 or number 50 in the world. It’s meaningless, why would I care if the Wallabies performances have declined. I’m just a rugby nut who loves the sport. The Wallabies beating NZ gives me no more pleasure than seeing my club win a premiership.

            • January 22nd 2013 @ 9:45am
              WW said | January 22nd 2013 @ 9:45am | ! Report

              cmon you don’t expect anyone to believe that do you?

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 10:09am
                Sailosi said | January 22nd 2013 @ 10:09am | ! Report

                Why is that so unbelievable. International rugby is repetitive, conservative and lacks variety. We play NZ 3 times a year every year, it starts to lose it’s mystique after a while, considering we now see their players for 5 months prior.

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 10:19am
                WW said | January 22nd 2013 @ 10:19am | ! Report

                club rugby and super rugby is meaningless although i don’t deny it is enjoyable to watch.

                test rugby is what counts despite that at that level it can be less attractive due to the defences.

                we simply need to adapt our expectations to the level. we should not expect the wallabies to rout at test level. gain an appetite for war of attrition stuff and you’ll enjoy test rugby a bit more. take an intererst particularly at the dark arts of the contact and breakdown.

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 10:42am
                Sailosi said | January 22nd 2013 @ 10:42am | ! Report

                It’s not the style of rugby. I’m an advocate of 10 man rugby if it’s effective. I would watch close to 4 to 5 hours of European rugby every week. I’m one of the odd few who seems to prefer Northern Hemisphere rugby. I’m merely stating that test rugby and the fortunes of our national side don’t really interest me.

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 10:51am
                Justin2 said | January 22nd 2013 @ 10:51am | ! Report

                If club and super rugby was meaningless it wouldnt exist. It may not be as important as Test rugby to the majority but it is far from meaningless. Its a massive part of the game itself.

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 10:52am
                mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 10:52am | ! Report

                Sailosi – unbelievable because as a player they play to make the national squad. its every players dream to make the highest team there is to play the best game they can and that is the national squad

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 10:57am
                mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 10:57am | ! Report

                justin2 – club rugby isnt meaningless, it just means less than test rugby.

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 11:04am
                Justin2 said | January 22nd 2013 @ 11:04am | ! Report

                mania – pretty sure thats what I said isnt it?

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 11:14am
                mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 11:14am | ! Report

                sorry j2, yes repeating your repeat. i was answering the wrong blog

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 11:40am
                WW said | January 22nd 2013 @ 11:40am | ! Report

                sailosi i watch a lot of european rugby and it is far from all 10 man rugby. sides like munster and biarritz play 10 man rugby but most play an expansive game based on a heavy reliance on dominance at the break down… the way it should be.

                the premiership and the heineken cup are generally much more entertaining than what the asutralian super rugby franchise are playing.

                some of the aussie super xv last year (eg the brumbies v red game) was the dullest rugby i’ve ever seen.

                but thats off topic… it all matters little in comparison to what test rugby means.

            • January 22nd 2013 @ 10:47pm
              Bakkies said | January 22nd 2013 @ 10:47pm | ! Report

              Munster haven’t played 10 men Rugby since the ELVs were trialled.

            • January 23rd 2013 @ 2:22am
              Hightackle said | January 23rd 2013 @ 2:22am | ! Report

              If international rugby dies, all of the players that stay in Australia in order to get into the wallabies will leave.
              Your team will lose all of its stars and rugby in Australia will suffer more than any other becuz rugby in Australia is far more fragile than any other nation in the top 10 imo. As it is you cant field 5 super teams or support a national comp.
              Weak Wallabies, rugby in Australia dies.

              • January 23rd 2013 @ 2:58am
                Bakkies said | January 23rd 2013 @ 2:58am | ! Report

                That’s why it is important to have a good base below test Rugby. The two additional Super Rugby teams were set up to provide extra options to the Wallabies.

            • January 23rd 2013 @ 6:56am
              richard said | January 23rd 2013 @ 6:56am | ! Report

              Mania,good post.Agree with you about the teamwork of the AB’s,the real strength of the AB’s, but we were talking about overall depth,and I just don’t believe it’s all its cracked up to be.

              • January 23rd 2013 @ 7:14am
                mania said | January 23rd 2013 @ 7:14am | ! Report

                richard – i have to agree that a lot of people do over state NZ depth. but its still better than most countries. its deeper than aus’. far less than SA and Eng but imo of a better quality. and naturally so. nz isnt a factory production line that just churns out players like merchandise. each individual learns and experiences at different levels and speed.
                BUT…
                when a certain player is needed somehow one appears. i cant explain it but it happens. cometh the hour cometh the man.
                when michaelJones had a career ending injury, joshKronfeld turned up, josh prematurely left for japan then mccaw. cullen -> mils (a centre btw) stepped up and became the player we needed. mehrtens near the end of his career had danCarter turn up. jerryCollins went and kaino evolved into a world class 6.
                definaitively yes NZ’s depth isnt all its cracked up to be, buts its always just enough to produce the players we need to compete at a high level. its like magic.
                ps – not sure how we’re gonna replace mccaw and carter, but the next players dont have to be the best in the world, they just have to be good team players.

              • January 23rd 2013 @ 1:23pm
                Hightackle said | January 23rd 2013 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

                NZs is massive and you guys are blind.

                SAs depth is better? No its not. Engs definately is not. France is not.

                Waldrom is in the English squad and so is Barritt. Neither NZ or SA would be using those players imo.

                Eng has no clear 11.

                NZ at 9 has Weepu, Smith, Ellis, Leonard, TJ, TKB.

                7 they have Cane, L.Braid, D.Braid, Cane, Todd etc

                Eng has no fetcher in their squad.

                No other country has the depth that NZ does. People say it becuz it is obviously true. Some countries have more depth in some areas but NZ has more depth overall.

      • January 22nd 2013 @ 2:03pm
        Hightackle said | January 22nd 2013 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

        You will never be #1 then.
        Notice how NZ rests many of its ABs for up to half of the super season?
        There is a reason.

        • January 23rd 2013 @ 5:43am
          Justin2 said | January 23rd 2013 @ 5:43am | ! Report

          How many?

          • January 24th 2013 @ 2:57am
            Hightackle said | January 24th 2013 @ 2:57am | ! Report

            22 players for 7 rds in 2007.
            But it happens every year to some degree.

            • January 24th 2013 @ 3:16am
              Justin2 said | January 24th 2013 @ 3:16am | ! Report

              That worked 🙂

    • January 22nd 2013 @ 7:19am
      soapit` said | January 22nd 2013 @ 7:19am | ! Report

      it would be interesting to see what proportion of money in comes from super rugby and what comes from tests. test more popular but there are more super rugby matches.

      the ARU should never allow the wallabies to impact on super rugby, everyone (broadcasters, viewers) pays to watch a certain product and dont want to get less than they paid for. if they’ve chosen to leave themselves not enough time with the scheduling for proper preparation its their own fault.

      • January 22nd 2013 @ 8:05am
        mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:05am | ! Report

        wow soapit – “the ARU should never allow the wallabies to impact on super rugby” isnt that a bit backward? why is it that so many australians have a deeper loyalty to super/state rugby than test? do the players have this mentality? in that they consider the state side the peak of their careers?
        in nz the super coaches are “asked” nicely by the AB’s coach but almost always they comply without much fuss. for the 2007 WC players were rested from super and there was a small fracas from some super coaches but all towed the line and rested their players.
        from the players point of view do u think they would consider state rugby or test rugby more important?

        • January 22nd 2013 @ 10:40am
          soapit said | January 22nd 2013 @ 10:40am | ! Report

          i dont have a deeper loyalty to either really (actually probably more to Australia if i had to choose) but if i’ve agreed a tv deal to deliver a mini series starring brad pitt it wouldn’t go down too well if after the fact i said “actually he wont be appearing in the final 2 episodes because he has movie commitments that are more important”.

          They signed up to this cramped schedule so they should wear their commitments at least with respect to super rugby (lions warm up games are different, fox didn’t do a massive pay tv deal for those)

          • January 22nd 2013 @ 10:55am
            mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 10:55am | ! Report

            soapit – why so loyal to foxtel and sanzar?

            • January 22nd 2013 @ 12:24pm
              soapit said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:24pm | ! Report

              not loyal to them, just to the agreement made with them, and therefore with me the paying customer they are onselling to

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 12:26pm
                mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

                dont u buy test tickets? soapit i’ll just have to come to terms with your stance. as bizzarre as i think it is its been proven that it is far from unique and fairly common in aus

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 12:57pm
                soapit said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

                havent been to a test in years but if i did i’d be paying to see the best players in aus, which i would be getting regardless of how long they’d spent preparing.

                not sure of your point with that one.

      • January 22nd 2013 @ 9:36am
        WW said | January 22nd 2013 @ 9:36am | ! Report

        how unbelievably narrow minded soapit.

        test rugby is the pinnacle… super rugby is just something to be watched before the test series begin and it helps us to see who should be picked.

        • January 22nd 2013 @ 10:34am
          soapit said | January 22nd 2013 @ 10:34am | ! Report

          then they should plan beforehand to not have the two conflict. its supposed to be professional sport with people paying in advance for what they expect to be getting. pretty amateur to just decide “we’re going to suddenly pull the best 10% of players out of the comp you’ve already subscribed to and everyone can just cop getting less value because the national teams need a bit more prep”. can you think of anything else you pay for that this would happen in?

          • January 22nd 2013 @ 11:00am
            mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 11:00am | ! Report

            well soapit i agree with u in this regard. aru are run by a bunch of monkeys who couldnt organise a pss up in brewery… still thats not the players fault and they are the ones that deserve a shot at playing these lions. the experience the players will get from playing this game will be immeasurable. it comes around once every 12 years. if u were a player wouldnt u want a shot?

          • January 22nd 2013 @ 11:45am
            WW said | January 22nd 2013 @ 11:45am | ! Report

            um big bash finals lost players to the odi’s v sri lamka last cuple of weeks

            and its not the whole comp… its 1 week of super rugby and some warm up matches for the lions. get real.

            • January 22nd 2013 @ 12:05pm
              Red Kev said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

              Bringing up the cricket is a good point – McKenzie and Chieka should be thanking their lucky stars that CA and their rotation boffins aren’t in charge of resting Wallaby players.

            • January 22nd 2013 @ 12:25pm
              WW said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

              and may i add that indeed the all blacks once rested all their stars for HALF the super 12 season.

            • January 22nd 2013 @ 12:29pm
              soapit said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

              ummm this has always been the case with the big bash. the broadcaster would have (or should have) known at the negotiations that the best aussies at the time wouldnt be involved in big bash and they would have adjusted their bid accordingly.

              seems the same at a glance but look a bit deeper, its not the example you’re looking for.

              thats as real as it gets.

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 1:22pm
                WW said | January 22nd 2013 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

                doesn’t change the fact the the big bash finals is a complete farce and you were asking where else does this happen.

                if the aru had rested players for the super xv finals…. then there would be a problem. frankly 1 round of local derbies and the lions warm up matches… there’s no problem here.

              • January 22nd 2013 @ 8:14pm
                soapit` said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:14pm | ! Report

                yes i asked where else does it happen and i demonstrated why what i was describing doesnt happen in the big bash (everyone knew the situation before they forked over cash)

                this is going to get tedious if i have to go over everything twice with you.

      • January 22nd 2013 @ 12:29pm
        James said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

        Here is the problem – devalue domestic rugby and all you are left with is a few test matches. It is the reason that rugby is so far behind the other codes in Australia. A few games a year will get you nowhere, especially when you are largely playing the same two or three teams over and over. They offer 200+ games which are at or near the pinnacle of the sport, vs rugby, which offers maybe a dozen. They have week-to-week coverage and interest, vs a smattering of big games played between June and December. All this talk about needing national teams need to be priortised above all else is completely myopic – the game will head down the same route as cricket soon where the domestic game is non-existant.

        Mania – you continually state that NZ is a nation of four million people who are eall behind the ABs, etc etc…that is a load of rubbish. Most of NZ does not care about rugby, it is nowhere near as big as AFL in Victoria, or perhaps even NRL in NSW/QLD. Crowds are terrible, TV ratings are mediocre, the game is stagnant and has been for years. Look at all the kids walking around NZ in NRL gear, then look at (how few) wear rugby gear – no contest. The obsession with international rugby has driven the youth market away – which means our next generation of fathers aren’t interested in the game, which means their kids won’t be interested – which will obviously kill the success of the ever-so-precious ABs. It is blatantly obvious that the status quo is not working yet most rugby people are too deluded and/or ignorant to see it.

        • January 22nd 2013 @ 12:30pm
          James said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

          When I say ‘they offer’ I mean the other codes in AUS.

          • January 22nd 2013 @ 12:40pm
            mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

            u ask any player whether they would like to play the lions tour and they’ll say yes. its fans and bean counters that are trying to stop them.
            in comparison to a test match super is meaningless.
            and james regardless of how u feel about nz rugby we’re maybe just maybe doing something right

            • January 22nd 2013 @ 1:07pm
              James said | January 22nd 2013 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

              “u ask any player whether they would like to play the lions tour and they’ll say yes”

              And the players don’t control the game. Wihtout the fans they wouldn’t be playing.

              “in comparison to a test match super is meaningless.”

              No, no, no!! This is the exact problem! The game outside test match rugby has been so badly devalued that nobody is going to care soon! The game is far too top heavy, it is glaringly obvious, yet, as expected, people would rather stick their heads in the analyse the situation objectively!

              The ABs play six meaningful games a year. The rest, in June and November, are glorified freindlies which exist to line the coffers of the relevant unions. Most people have forgotten the matches as soon as they are over. Surely it is an indicator that things are unhealthy when, having just won the RWC on home soil, the ABs only sold out four of six home tests this year. Our whole game is built around them, and people still don’t show up to watch.

              I live in Auckland where NRL is on the verge of completely swamping rugby. And when that happens in Auckland, being NZs media centre, the rest of the country will follow. It is a simple fact that a lot of people (not me) would rather watch the Warriors, an independent local team who control their own destiny, than the Blues (ABs feeder club, not allowed any ambition of their own) or Auckland or North Harbour (semi-pro teams in a comp. nobody cares about). If and when the NRL expands in NZ the same will happen in Wellington and/or ChCh.

              • January 24th 2013 @ 8:09am
                Greg said | January 24th 2013 @ 8:09am | ! Report

                Haha, Im from south Auckland, it’s union first, daylight second, then league.

        • January 22nd 2013 @ 12:36pm
          mania said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

          james – sorry but your talkig rubbish. nrl has a presence but it is nothing in comparison to super and AB’s. more kids wear an AB’s jersey than NRL tops put together. of course i’m just making this up out of thin air like u are.
          did u not see the AB’s win the WC in 2011. thats made rugby even more popular than ever.
          james are u even in nz or been here to have an opinion? or are u solely in southAuckland in one little micro nrl climate and u dont venture outside of it?
          test matches are the pinacle. ask any player whether its their goal to play super rugby or test rugby. u and other fans are the only ones putting state before test matches.

          • January 23rd 2013 @ 2:19am
            Bakkies said | January 23rd 2013 @ 2:19am | ! Report

            Mania, he does have a point about Super Rugby and the NPC being devalued. There is more to Rugby then just test matches the All Blacks play in.

            • January 23rd 2013 @ 4:49am
              mania said | January 23rd 2013 @ 4:49am | ! Report

              bakkies – super rugby is over valued imo. its taken more of the rugby calendar than it deserves. super dominates the season and when all sanzar are doing is adding more aus teams + the kings then i’m getting bored because its so umimaginitive. more is not better its just more.
              npc was being devalued but thats because of super not test rugby. however npc has not only survived but its evolved into an awesome product and spectacle. i thought it wouldve lost its luster when AB’s were no longer playing but instead its upped itself another gear and is now a viable standalone product with ot without the ABs.
              all rugby (from grass roots to super) should be pointed towards assisting and supporting the test squad. its the pinnacle of the iceberg and the whole point players play, to make the national squad. its the highest level they can achieve

              • January 23rd 2013 @ 9:23am
                James said | January 23rd 2013 @ 9:23am | ! Report

                The vast majority of players who play first-class rugby (or, I guess, professional rugby, which is a more apt term in the modern era) in NZ will never get anywhere near an ABs jersey (the same obviously applies in Australia, SA, England etc). And I think most of them know that from pretty early in their professional careers. But

                People complain about Super Rugby being excessively long etc need to realise that it is still (by far) the shortest major competition in Australasian sports. It runs from Feb – Late July, with only 16 regular season games, far less than A-league, NRL etc. We need Super Rugby to compete with other sports and to give both NZ and

              • January 23rd 2013 @ 9:50am
                mania said | January 23rd 2013 @ 9:50am | ! Report

                super runs longer than the test season, both midyear, RC and EOY put together. super is not the only comp in SH. theres also the npc and heineken cup.
                and its australia thats needs super to compete with other sports. the only reason its failing is because ARU marketers suck, do nothing for grassroots and its hard to attract kids to rugby when the wallaby’s are playing so bad.
                james making it longer and adding more teams doesnt make it better. especially if those additional teams are from aus or port elizabeth

              • January 23rd 2013 @ 11:44am
                Bakkies said | January 23rd 2013 @ 11:44am | ! Report

                So when the Super Rugby season went from February to May it was devaluing the NPC? I find that hard to believe. The NPC was pretty strong in the Super 12 years, I as an Australian fan was envious of the quality and crowd support. The test players being pulled out of the NPC devalues the comp for the fans, that’s why the South Africans give Currie Cup games to their Boks. To win the Currie Cup you have to beat the top teams who are close to full strength and it fills the stadiums.

                James has a point about a minority only making the All Blacks so where is the incentive to stick around in NZ to play for your province and Super Rugby team? That’s why Irish players rarely move abroad to play club/provincial Rugby as they have pride in their province and where they are from. There must be close to 150 kiwi players at least plying their trade overseas. Australia has close to 100 but doesn’t have the year round quality of Rugby that NZ has for non test players.

                The NPC may have upped it’s gear by your book but is it financially viable when provincial unions are losing money? How much does the NPC cost the NZRU each season to run? Rugby can’t afford to lose provincial unions in NZ. If unions like Otago go who is going to be in charge of grassroots development? Will the Rugby people of the province have a provincial team to support? That’s why the ARU bailed out the NSWRU and QRU as they knew they would be screwed without those state unions.

                For a city like Christchurch Rugby gives the people something to look forward to.

              • January 23rd 2013 @ 11:58am
                mania said | January 23rd 2013 @ 11:58am | ! Report

                yes super was devalueing NPC. test players have an incredibly long season. 9 -11 months of the year. would u rather they played super or npc? they cant play every game in every comp.
                players leaving nz shores has nothing to do with their pride or loyalty. your making out that they’re mercenaries and dont believe in their provinces. its about money and whats best for them and their families. its none of your business why they go overseas to play. good on them if they are making a career of playing and providing for their loved ones. you cant eat loyalty.
                u should still be envying NPC/ITM. its evolved into something i didnt think it could. if anything i reckons its better now because it had to, to survive. the level of play & skill in any NPC game is far beyond what the aus derby’s serve up.
                ITM has found its financial maturity and now knows that it cant pay every player. they were living beyond their means but thats ok because they’ve learnt from it. otago has recovered and most provinces posted a profit last year. dont know where u think the provinces will disapear to. the last 10 years has been a learning curve for the ITM but your picking your argument at a time when ITM has become a better product than its ever been. its 2 years too late to use it as a portent for your oom and gloom.
                crowds are low sure but the short intense format was flawed and mid week games wont be repeated. its a product still evolving but its still an awesome product that will only get better
                i hope we decline some more. this down turn in rugby has resulted in NZ holding the inaugural TRC, bledisloe (10x), superTitle and WorldCup.

              • January 23rd 2013 @ 12:40pm
                mania said | January 23rd 2013 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

                whats really funny bakkies is i’m arguing the demise of nz rugby with an australian whilst NZ hold every trophy we possibly can get our hands on bar the under 19’s world cup. we have the 7’s, womens as well as all the usuals
                what trophys does aus have?
                irony much?

              • January 23rd 2013 @ 9:54pm
                Bakkies said | January 23rd 2013 @ 9:54pm | ! Report

                Super Rugby may have bumped the NPC from tier 2 status but All Blacks should be encouraged to play some NPC games. There is no substitute for playing matches and that’s why the Springboks play in the tail end of the Currie Cup. That competition still means a lot to the Bok players and should they be robbed of the chance to win a Currie Cup just because they have made the Springbok squads.

                You think that it should be all about the test side but do you think it’s good for the game that players should be in the national set up for 5 to 6 months a season? People in Europe think that’s excessive. That’s why they have leagues and later on the Heineken Cup. Following your team’s journey in the Heineken Cup has become a part of the Rugby culture. The Rugby structure is heavy with fixtures but fans and players need a balance.

                By your book the NPC is better then ever but in reality it’s a tier 3 development competition these days. The NZRU has hammered the format which further devalues it. Fringe Kiwi players aren’t going abroad to get big pay cheques. All I am saying is that a more meaningful NPC would be an incentive for them to stay. Marty Holah left Wales despite being in good form so he could finish his career in NZ maybe that can turn in to a trend.

        • January 23rd 2013 @ 1:13pm
          Hightackle said | January 23rd 2013 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

          James what you just said is completely wrong.
          The reason rugby is so far behind is becuz AFL and NRL have ALWAYS been far more popular.
          Rugby tried to get a national comp in Aust. It went bust.
          The thing that props Australian rugby up is the internationals and that is why they play an absurd schedule at international level.
          If international rugby in Australia fails, rugby in Australia fails.

          All of you are whinging that Wallabies wont be there for a few games. Something that NZ often does for 7 or 8 games.
          Its a one off event in which the 2nd biggest event on the world rugby calender and you arw all moaning that the Wallabies being absent devalues club rugby.

      • January 22nd 2013 @ 12:44pm
        Sam Taulelei said | January 22nd 2013 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

        From its inception Tri Nations (and now RC) rugby has always attracted a higher price than Super rugby from broadcasters.

        For SANZAR test rugby pays for super rugby even though there are more games played in Super rugby. Unlike other oval ball codes, test rugby is the pinnacle of the sport and is sold as a premium product to broadcasters and advertisers because there are less costs and higher profits involved with staging a test tournament than there are a provincial tournament.

        That’s why SANZAR can continue to expand at Super level, but only recently added Argentina to its competition without there being any Argentinian Super teams.

        • January 22nd 2013 @ 8:16pm
          soapit` said | January 22nd 2013 @ 8:16pm | ! Report

          thanks sam, that interesting it has attracted more dollars over the season even with far fewer games

    • January 22nd 2013 @ 7:32am
      Darwin Stubbie said | January 22nd 2013 @ 7:32am | ! Report

      There is a slight difference the lions played actual provinces in NZ not the SR franchises … . The ABs hardly front for these …. SA may have been the same …. It’s traditional and that’s what these tours are about … Throwbacks to the past

      Aust lack of depth and no other tier has always meant their Lions tour is sparse for matches outside of the tests … They should really have looked at cutting it back and go more traditional 3 tests and then NSW, ACT and Qld – emphasis on actual state sides … and fit availability around that … But it is about $ so we have this half baked set up ..

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