Is recalling Smith inspiration or desperation?

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    Former Brumby George Smith has signed with the Reds. (AAP/NZN Image, SNPA, Ross Setford)

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    Tomorrow night’s upcoming Test between the Wallabies and the Lions has highlighted an interesting conflict in coaching styles.

    Robbie Deans has opted to bring legendary Wallaby flanker George Smith back into international rugby after a long international hiatus for apparently one game, whereas Warren Gatland has opted to drop legendary Irish centre Brian O’Driscoll despite screams of protest from loyal fans.

    Regardless of your personal allegiance and opinion of the above selections, it is telling with regards to markedly conflicting coaching styles and probably indicates desperation on the part of Robbie Deans to clinch a win and keep his job.

    I am impressed with Gatland’s bravery in dropping O’Driscoll.

    I am sad for O’Driscoll of course, as he has been a talisman for the Britsh and the Lions for many years, but it could easily be thought he is not beyond his peak and youth and exuberance may now have overtaken his experience and skill. In this regard, perhaps Gatland is right.

    I am less sure and less impressed by Deans’ selection of Smith. This seems an act of desperation rather than one of inspiration.

    To drop up-and-coming youth to install experience after a long lay-off seems more like a grab for old glories rather than a search for new ones.

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    The Crowd Says (26)

    • Roar Guru

      July 6th 2013 @ 4:02am
      Rob na Champassak said | July 6th 2013 @ 4:02am | ! Report

      Selecting George Smith is an act of desperation?

      Oh boy, now I have heard everything…

      Youth is only as good as it performs. And can we honestly say that Hooper or Gill have asserted themselves upon either match so far in this series? Have they used their performances to nail down the spot? They have not. By their own high standards, they have been below par.

      We can’t afford to give up on the breakdown again. Smith is the man for the job.

      • July 6th 2013 @ 8:02am
        Justin3 said | July 6th 2013 @ 8:02am | ! Report

        As long as he can last the distance…

    • Roar Guru

      July 6th 2013 @ 4:40am
      biltongbek said | July 6th 2013 @ 4:40am | ! Report

      I personally don’t think it is a good idea, but then I am not an Aussie and have no affinity for Smith.

      I think he is an era gone by and it should be left to the youngsters.

      • Roar Rookie

        July 6th 2013 @ 5:13am
        Rassie said | July 6th 2013 @ 5:13am | ! Report

        Youngsters will get a chance if they can perform better than him.

        • Roar Guru

          July 6th 2013 @ 5:19am
          biltongbek said | July 6th 2013 @ 5:19am | ! Report

          When the Smith faced Hooper in the Super XV, hooper came out on top, plus Smith conceded two penalties.

          In my view Hooper is better anyway, more of a ball carrier as well which adds to his allround abilities.

          • Roar Rookie

            July 6th 2013 @ 6:24am
            Rassie said | July 6th 2013 @ 6:24am | ! Report

            The Brumbies have the third best ruck success in the competition.

            I’m confused a bit as Hooper gave away 2 penalties in that win over the Brumbies. But are you looking at the stats only and forgot that Hoopers carries were in open play and not in tight?

            • Roar Guru

              July 6th 2013 @ 7:21am
              biltongbek said | July 6th 2013 @ 7:21am | ! Report

              Nope, Smith gave penalties away not Hooper, and Hooper has pace hence him being more effective in open open play.

          • July 6th 2013 @ 8:03am
            Justin3 said | July 6th 2013 @ 8:03am | ! Report

            It isn’t about carrying though. It’s about the breakdown and that’s Hoopers weakness.

            • July 6th 2013 @ 11:27am
              Blinky Bill of Bellingen said | July 6th 2013 @ 11:27am | ! Report

              Too right Justin3. Agree 100%. His main job must be to steal or slow down the pill, and not get pinged.

              It’s about the breakdown & that’s our weakness. No ball, no open play.

              • Roar Rookie

                July 6th 2013 @ 3:31pm
                Rassie said | July 6th 2013 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

                George Smith had the same workload playing only 60 minutes and Hooper played a full 80

      • July 6th 2013 @ 11:41am
        Jokerman said | July 6th 2013 @ 11:41am | ! Report

        Its funny switch around for Deans who has had a legacy, and a weakness in my view to cut some players careers short. And in doings so not blending the new with the old very well. A slight limbo in transition.

        An example of this was the All Blacks 2003 RWC. He dumped, Cullen, Mertyns, Oliver. In what appeared to be the new team. Stubbornly not having the old with the new. That lack of experience came back to haunt him.

        In Contrast Steve Hansen last year merged the old and new together perfectly well. They have experience and newness now and are in good stead for the RWC.

        • July 6th 2013 @ 12:42pm
          Atawhai Drive said | July 6th 2013 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

          Deans was an assistant coach in 2003, to John Mitchell. Is an assistant able to override the head coach on selection?

          • July 6th 2013 @ 1:03pm
            eagleJack said | July 6th 2013 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

            Yeah it’s a strange one AD.

            I’ve never read Mckenzie copping the blame for selecting Rogers over Latham in the 03 WC. Yet we always see Deans get blamed for decisions that ultimately would have fallen at the feet of Mitchell.

          • July 6th 2013 @ 3:13pm
            Jokerman said | July 6th 2013 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

            If you chat to Tana Umanga, Anton Oliver you will find they were no to happy with Deans regarding selections. All to easy AD, Eagle to hide behind another.

            Yes he was only the assistant, but he had a big influence in it. He would have taken the glory if he had won the RWC….but it goes both ways.

            I think Robbie Deans is a great coach, I was only pointing out a perceived weakness, or a weakness that was there in the past.

          • July 6th 2013 @ 6:59pm
            Jerry said | July 6th 2013 @ 6:59pm | ! Report

            No, but you’d assume he’s got some input and when the selection policy seems to be “A Crusader in every position if possible”, well…..

            • July 6th 2013 @ 7:39pm
              Jokerman said | July 6th 2013 @ 7:39pm | ! Report

              I also put up a comment in David Lords roll a dice article regarding Jerry’s “necrophiliac” I thought it was pretty funny. (No one saw it as its near the end..and heaps of comments.)

    • July 6th 2013 @ 5:31am
      colvin said | July 6th 2013 @ 5:31am | ! Report

      George is there for a reason. To take back control of the breakdown.

    • July 6th 2013 @ 9:26am
      M.O.C. said | July 6th 2013 @ 9:26am | ! Report

      Thanks for your thoughts roarers – what I find interesting is the polar opposite approaches from the two coaches, they clearly have big differences in opnion regarding the value of past glories. I am with Gatland in this instance as I think that you should never choose rep teams on reputation or loyalty, but on form. I wonder how Deans can justify Smiths selection in this regards given his time away from test rugby. By contrast I can understand Gatlands selection. I suspect that my opinion is less biased than most as I follow neither the Lions nor Wallabies. I guess we will all find out in about 12 hours as to who is right.

      • July 6th 2013 @ 11:33am
        Blinky Bill of Bellingen said | July 6th 2013 @ 11:33am | ! Report

        As you say, polar opposites.

        Frankly I was surprised the Gatland dropped BOD, because of what I felt he added to the Lions. But perhaps the other’s form outweighs what BOD brings? We shall see. I just hope the Lions don’t find themselves in some tight spot near the end of the test needing his experience or motivational powers and wish ‘if only’.

        IMHO Smith’s key role has to be to get stuck-in at the breakdown. Otherwise we’re toast. Is it likely we will see Smith and Hooper in tandem? How long will George Smith last? All this and more answered tonight. 🙂

      • July 6th 2013 @ 12:28pm
        Chivas said | July 6th 2013 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

        Sounds more personal than practical for you. I think your points are confused where you apply two different criteria to two sides of an argument.

        So in conclusion Gatland is inspired and Deans is desperate. Waste of time writing, more wasteful reading and probably more wasteful responding..

        I suggest you think about what the coaches are trying to achieve and remove emotive conclusions and you may actually write something with substance and a lot shorter, because quite frankly you could have write. The article in about two sentences.

    • July 6th 2013 @ 11:04am
      DT said | July 6th 2013 @ 11:04am | ! Report

      As I posted on another article yesterday…lose the breakdown and you’re fighting for scraps in defence and waiting for mistakes from the opposition. Wallabies comprehensively lost the breakdown last week due to Warburton’s superior work on his feet over the ball. Hooper was blown off the park. Smith will add a new dimension to that part of the game. Palu etc will have to lift their running game to compensate for loss of Hooper, although to be fair the little number 7 hasn’t been tearing it up out there.

    • Roar Guru

      July 6th 2013 @ 1:39pm
      AdamS said | July 6th 2013 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

      Smith is not the player he used to be.
      In pressure games in SXV he was more blatant infringing than sublime jakaling. It’s all going to come down to the ref.
      I’d have money on him picking up,a card.
      Gill gets turnovers without penalties, I’d be starting him with Hoops to come on late.

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