Michael Hooper and Daly Cherry-Evans don’t deserve to be captains

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    While the knives are out for Wallaby coach Michael Cheika and his Manly rugby league counterpart Trent Barrett, they aren’t the ones missing the tackles and playing well below par.

    The same can’t be said for Wallaby captain Michel Hooper, nor his Manly counterpart Daly Cherry-Evans.

    At the weekend, Hooper oversaw one of Australian rugby’s most diabolical performances, down 54-6 with 30 minutes to go against the All Blacks.

    That the men in black took the foot off the pedal, and the Wallabies decided to make some passes stick, meant the final scoreline was 54-34.

    A major embarrassment.

    A week ago, Manly had a top-four finish in their sights for the finals, but they let a 20-6 halftime lead against the Tigers slip, ending in a 30-26 defeat.

    Yesterday, Manly obviously thought they just had to turn up to beat the Bulldogs, the worst attacking team in the NRL.

    Against all predictions, the Bulldogs led 12-10 at the break, the first time in 24 rounds they had managed ten points by halftime.

    But the Dogs barked louder in the second session, scoring 18 points, with Manly only adding to their ten with a converted try in the final seconds.

    Both the Wallabies and Manly played with an arrogance rarely seen in both teams. The captains did nothing, repeat nothing, to correct the faults.

    As a result, both teams copped a hiding.

    As a strong defender of Cheika as Wallaby coach for two reasons – he’s the best man for the job and there’s no replacement in sight – he has blinkers on when it comes to the captaincy.

    Hooper captained the Waratahs to four wins from 15 games in the Super Rugby tournament, ‘boasting’ a win ratio of 26.67 per cent.

    Riveting.

    You would think Cheika would take note of that pathetic stat, but no, he appointed Hooper the Wallabies’ captain.

    Saturday night’s horrendous loss was Hooper’s 10th in 16 Tests – a success rate of 37.5 per cent.

    As for the Wallabies’ performances since the 2015 Rugby World Cup final, when the men on gold were ranked number two in the world, they have won just eight of 19 international – a success rate of 42.1 per cent.

    And where are the Wallabies in the world rankings? Fifth, and falling.

    Let’s see what Michael Cheika does for the second Bledisloe-Rugby Championship clash with the All Blacks in Dunedin on Saturday.

    Michael Hooper Wallabies Australian Rugby Union Championship Bledisloe Cup 2017

    (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

    The same question must be applied to Manly.

    For the last three halves, Manly has been an embarrassment and bitter disappointment to their fans.

    They lett a 20-6 lead go begging against the Tigers, and yesterday let the worst attacking team in the NRL in for six tries.

    How on earth could that happen?

    Very easily.

    For the entire game, Manly were on their heels with the Bulldogs in possession, gift-wrapping a minimum 10 to 15 metres with every play the ball.

    And what did Cherry-Evans do to correct the glaring fault? Nothing. Zip, zero, zilch.

    And there was Barrett in the coaching box grimacing at every play.

    And what did he tell his team at the break?

    Up the energy and enthusiasm.

    It was not forthcoming.

    Now Manly is eighth on the ladder and no certainty to be in the finals.

    They play the Warriors away, a danger game, and the Panthers at home, even more dangerous.

    And when the Wallabies cop another rugby lesson in Dunedin, Hooper will still be captain.

    And when the Warriors beat Manly, Cherry-Evans will still be captain.

    Both Michael Cheika and Trent Barrett need to correct the glaring wrongs or eventually pay the ultimate penalty.

    David Lord
    David Lord

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

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