The Reds and their fight for legitimacy

185 Have your say

    Pierre Spies (C) of the Bulls tackles Liam Gill of the Reds during the Super Rugby match at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, March 24, 2012. (AFP Photo: Alexander Joe)

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    It is an unforgiving fact of sport that those who play it and coach it are constantly fighting for legitimacy.

    Even champions, if they are lucky, are given a few short weeks to enjoy their hard-earned success before attention is turned to the following season.

    The advent of social media has further shortened the period between observation and judgment. You could be regarded as a Wallabies contender after the first half but derided as fundamentally soft, clueless and weak-minded following the second 40.

    But it is hard to remember any Super Rugby champions that have had to fight so hard for their legitimacy as the Queensland Reds.

    Already unloved by the bookmakers (they began the season as outsiders against the Waratahs and were still in that position when they travelled to meet the Sharks with three wins out of three) and the targets of a whispering campaign that their title last year owed something to a kind draw and a weak conference, their detractors are having a field day.

    Performances such as the capitulation against the Force are not helping their supporters to frame a coherent response. Fifth choice five-eighth or not, there was a surprisingly passive attitude to defence in Perth against Richard Graham’s well-drilled unit.

    Most had expected a reaction following the hammering at the hands of the Bulls, but the Force pack buried those assumptions and probably altered some Wallabies’ selections for the Scotland Test while they were at it.

    The Reds had the look of a team that has lost confidence in its back-line to get the job done. The hard work of cleaning out bodies and making tough inches up front becomes immediately less appealing if you do not think the men out the back have the capacity to turn it into something tangible.

    How very different it was last year, when they had a magician who transformed forward sweat into field position or points at almost every time of asking.

    The malaise had begun in Pretoria, and that 61-8 humiliation goes to the very core of why there are doubts about the enduring qualities of this Queensland team. The defeat was actually the first time Ewen McKenzie has taken a Reds to Loftus Versfeld. In 2010 and 2011, the Super draws steered Queensland away from the most intimidating destination in the competition. Similarly, you also have to go back to the pre-McKenzie era, to 2009, to find the last time the Reds had to play the Crusaders in New Zealand, a 32-12 defeat in Christchurch.

    Rest assured the Cantabrians – some of whom deemed the Reds’ celebrations a little too exuberant last year – are looking forward to Sunday, May 12 when McKenzie’s men return to Christchurch. Quite a few will be hoping that Richie McCaw and Quade Cooper have recovered sufficiently from their long-term ailments to resume their relationship.

    Doubtless the mention of Cooper will allow some to raise the issue of injuries. It is a dangerous path to go down and ends up nowhere. The moment Stephen Donald dropped his tinned brew and fishing rod, raced back to Auckland, squeezed into a too-tight top and won a World Cup, all future injury excuses became irrelevant.

    Besides, the Reds have failed to come up with an alternative game plan to wean themselves off an over-reliance on Cooper’s unique but erratic talents.

    Funnily enough, the same failing at national level had quite a few calling for Robbie Deans to be sacked and replaced by McKenzie. It turns they have more in common than you thought; both are hampered by a lack of depth.

    Indeed, given what has been served up by the Australian provinces so far, a devil’s advocate might suggest that the man who won a Tri-Nations and finished third in a World Cup with that lot must be one hell of a coach and secure in his employment.

    That discussion, though, is for another time. McKenzie has got enough on his plate with the arrival of the hungry Brumbies this week. He began the season denouncing – correctly – those prosecuting the “lucky” Reds argument, and assuring fans that complacency and Cooper’s injury would not be an issue.

    But it’s April now, and those voices are getting louder.

    Paul Cully
    Paul Cully

    Paul Cully is a freelance journalist who was born in New Zealand, raised in Northern Ireland, but spent most of his working life in Australia. He is a former Sun-Herald sports editor, rugby tragic, and current Roar and RugbyHeaven contributor.

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    The Crowd Says (185)

    • April 4th 2012 @ 7:10am
      kingplaymaker said | April 4th 2012 @ 7:10am | ! Report

      ‘Funnily enough, the same failing at national level had quite a few calling for Robbie Deans to be sacked and replaced by McKenzie. It turns they have more in common than you thought; both are hampered by a lack of depth.

      Indeed, given what has been served up by the Australian provinces so far, a devil’s advocate might suggest that the man who won a Tri-Nations and finished third in a World Cup with that lot must be one hell of a coach and secure in his employment. ‘

      These are virtually the best words ever written on the Roar and there are many who should honestly ask themselves if they aren’t true, despite fixed inclinations to the contrary. There are many who should ask themselves whether they refuse to accept the truth of these words because they can’t accept a non-Australian coaching an Australian team. There are others who should ask themselves if they deny the truth of these words because they can’t accept a New Zealander betraying them to coach another country. Finally, and most importantly, there are those who should ask themselves if they reject the words because they can’t accept the fundamental lack of playing quality in Australian rugby, and the issues of the entire structure, direction, strategy and management of the game and its competition with other codes that such a state of affairs raises.

      All three groups should raise up the mirror to the most profound regions of their souls and ask themselves if they are really denying 24 carat truth though it may be bitter as lead.

      • April 4th 2012 @ 7:40am
        p.Tah said | April 4th 2012 @ 7:40am | ! Report

        Those quotes stood out and smacked me in the face. Well said Paul.

      • April 4th 2012 @ 8:16am
        mania said | April 4th 2012 @ 8:16am | ! Report

        KPM – your quote “There are others who should ask themselves if they deny the truth of these words because they can’t accept a New Zealander betraying them to coach another country.” since joining roar not once have a heard a kiwi state that they think deans is a traitor. the only ones lambasting deans are aus suporters. kiwi’s love deans, more so now since he started coaching aus.

        and your wrong, the best words written here is “Quite a few will be hoping that Richie McCaw and Quade Cooper have recovered sufficiently from their long-term ailments to resume their relationship.”. Relationship? classicly good stuff cully

        • April 4th 2012 @ 9:12am
          Harry said | April 4th 2012 @ 9:12am | ! Report

          I am not sure how long you’ve been a reader and contributor to this site mania but I recall more than one kiwi poster – OJ and DS come to mnd – regularly lambasting Deans over the years.
          Kiwis may well love Deans coaching the Wallabies post the world cup when they thrashed Australia in the game that mattered … however when the Walls do get the occasional win over New Zealand (final game of the 3N 11 for instance) I assure you the anti Deans rhetoric from Kiwi’s ratchets up!

          • April 4th 2012 @ 9:34am
            thurl said | April 4th 2012 @ 9:34am | ! Report

            read into their posts what you will but pointing out Deans’ results with both the Wallabies and the All Blacks indicate that the NZRFU were right in not giving him the All Blacks job. There’s plenty of anti Deans feeling from Kiwis for sure, but its not all about treachery.
            Oh, and BTW, the anti Deans rhetoric ratchets up after the AB’s win, not when the Walls win. And its purely in response to you blokes telling us we were mugs for not giving him the AB gig.

            • April 4th 2012 @ 9:47am
              mania said | April 4th 2012 @ 9:47am | ! Report

              thurl – “There’s plenty of anti Deans feeling from Kiwis for sure, but its not all about treachery.” very very true. i dont like deans, but not because he went to aus. i’m against his and mitchells debacle tenure as AB’s coaches. dropping cullen, goldie, taineRandell, antonOliver and merhtens (for carlos?!?! really?!?!) then crying after the WC that they didnt have enough experience in the squad is to me hypocritical. i know i know i’ll get over it and the recent WC has helped me do that.
              but i have forgiven deans for giving us the bledisloe and 2010 WC

            • April 4th 2012 @ 9:52am
              Harry said | April 4th 2012 @ 9:52am | ! Report

              Righto, spot the contradcition:
              “plenty of anti Deans feeling from Kiwis for sure”
              “anti Deans rhetoric ratchets up … purely in response to you blokes”

              Anyway for what its worth I think Deans has done a reasonable job as Wallabies coach, with a clear lack of quality and depth in playing stocks (eg. at tight head prop and No. 8). My biggest criticism is that he has 1) shown to be inflexible and stubborn in selecting players out of their best position eg. Macabe, Kepu; and associated with that, has clealry played favourities or excluded certain players (most notably George Smith and Giteau, their absence left us badly exposed at RWC) and 2) for such an articulate, intelligent and impressive man, he speaks the most awful gibberish in his public utterances.

              • April 4th 2012 @ 11:22am
                thurl said | April 4th 2012 @ 11:22am | ! Report

                Speaking of contradictions Harry…. I share your criticism about playing people out of position and playing favourates ( same as his time with the ABs) but wouldn’t this be why he hasn’t done a reasonable job.

          • April 4th 2012 @ 9:42am
            mania said | April 4th 2012 @ 9:42am | ! Report

            harry – surely they must be in the minority. most kiwi’s i know agree that deans had no choice but to go over seas. i wouldnt consider him a traitor.

            • April 4th 2012 @ 9:49am
              thurl said | April 4th 2012 @ 9:49am | ! Report

              I thought right from the start that he was a mug to take on the WB job. He would have been better served going to the Northern Hemisphere where he could operate under the radar and build some international coaching credentials

              • April 4th 2012 @ 9:56am
                Harry said | April 4th 2012 @ 9:56am | ! Report

                JON gives him a million good reasons to take the Wallabies job. And the big salaried, big reputation coach worked for JON at soccer (Guus Hiddink at Soccer world cup 2006).

              • April 4th 2012 @ 10:02am
                mania said | April 4th 2012 @ 10:02am | ! Report

                yeah and deans wanted to prove the NZRFU wrong and beat the AB’s with the next best available team, wallaby’s.

            • April 4th 2012 @ 10:29am
              anopinion said | April 4th 2012 @ 10:29am | ! Report

              Many would argue the same for the entire NZ population, in fact are there any left in NZ?

              • April 4th 2012 @ 1:29pm
                Riccardo said | April 4th 2012 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

                Just sheep Bro. “Baa…”

          • April 4th 2012 @ 12:50pm
            jameswm said | April 4th 2012 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

            OJ certainly gives it to Deans, but not for being a traitor. He queries Deans’s coaching abilities.

      • April 4th 2012 @ 3:17pm
        ohtani's jacket said | April 4th 2012 @ 3:17pm | ! Report

        Raise up a mirror to the most profound regions of their souls?

        Nobody considered Robbie Deans a traitor. The fans who would have had the most reason to feel betrayed (i.e. Crusaders fans and fans in the Canterbury province) were the most supportive of Deans’ move because it was understood that he was overlooked for the All Black job. Of course, this begs the question of why Wallabies fans would be happy accepting a coach who only wanted to coach their side as a second choice and was effectively a reject, but hey, those profound regions of the soul are hard to reach.

        If Deans had been offered the All Black job and turned it down to coach Australia or if he had really left NZ in the lurch then there may have been some ill feelings towards him, but again it was understood why he left. If you want an example of people who were considered traitors look no further than Russell Coutts and Brad Butterworth.

        Besides, it was four years ago. People may have been nervous when the Wallabies beat the All Blacks in Deans’ first crack, but a record losing streak followed and ultimately a WC semi loss. Kind of hard to hate a guy you beat all the time.

        • Roar Guru

          April 4th 2012 @ 5:10pm
          Jiggles said | April 4th 2012 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

          Personally OJ, I was a bit annoyed when Connelly was given the axe after 2007 as if that campaign was 100% his fault. He had crap to work with after Jones and wasn’t really given a chance to build his own team. Either way if we had to have a new coach Deans was OK by me, even if we were his second choice. This is understandable, he is a New Zealander and he wants to coach the All Blacks. He was the best option out of the candidates, and his success since RWC 2003 suggested he had learned something about winning.

          I had a think after the 2009 season and decided Deans wasn’t right, he hadn’t learnt anything since 2003. Our defence (the best asset of Australian rugby) started to slide, and our lack of game plan was apparent. Before this point I always thought “play what’s in front of you” meant to be adaptable on the pitch, not being afraid of straying from the game-plan if an opportunity opens up. What it actually means is to not have a game-plan, but try and play rugby by feel. This is ok at SR level, not ok at Test level.

          Additionally Deans started to show no objectivity with regards to the form of players and they type of players they were, foolishly believing that each and every player can confirm to a style of rugby of his own choosing. We have seen this is not correct.

          A couple of months back, talking about the RWC with a friend, he said “You know despite the ups and downs of the Deans so far, I always thought he had a plan for the RWC.” After 2009 it became obvious to me he had no plan, and no idea.

        • April 4th 2012 @ 5:18pm
          darwin stubby said | April 4th 2012 @ 5:18pm | ! Report

          exactly I don’t view Deans as a traitor .- never have .. in fact I was very relived that NZRFU rejected him … that he ended up with the Wallabies on a decent wedge – good luck too him … but you can’t gloss over the fact the bloke has been inept at coaching at international level ….

        • April 4th 2012 @ 5:57pm
          millard said | April 4th 2012 @ 5:57pm | ! Report

          and 58% of cantabs wanted henry and hansen in a chch poll;not deans

    • April 4th 2012 @ 8:26am
      Justin said | April 4th 2012 @ 8:26am | ! Report

      There is a rather large difference between comparing the Wallabies and the Reds. McKenzie has few choices to make in terms of personnel. Deans did have viable options and many agree he took the wrong options throughout the WC.

      I think Link is making a few blues in his selections right now – Davies at 15 ofr example, and tinkering with the front row constantly. I think I know his thought pattern with some of it, ie squad rotation for a long season but right now they need attitude and points.

    • April 4th 2012 @ 8:38am
      Latimer-Umaga said | April 4th 2012 @ 8:38am | ! Report

      “The defeat was actually the first time Ewen McKenzie has taken a Reds to Loftus Versfeld. In 2010 and 2011, the Super draws steered Queensland away from the most intimidating destination in the competition. Similarly, you also have to go back to the pre-McKenzie era, to 2009, to find the last time the Reds had to play the Crusaders in New Zealand, a 32-12 defeat in Christchurch.”

      Finally someone mentions that. How is it fair that two years running the Bulls had to travel to Brisbane? Back in Super12-14 days they usually exchanged locations every year to make it somewhat fair.

      I’m sorry, but you can see why the Reds 2011 title is ridiculed. John O’neill played a master stroke that year.

      • April 4th 2012 @ 9:31am
        formeropenside said | April 4th 2012 @ 9:31am | ! Report

        Yeah, like the ARU have ever done anything to benefit the Reds.

      • April 4th 2012 @ 11:17am
        Funk said | April 4th 2012 @ 11:17am | ! Report

        Er…did you happen to notice during that time there was the addition of a new team and a complete change of the playing format? So it was an elaborate plan by SANZAR (notice the SA and NZ in that acronym) to allow the Reds to win the title? Conspiracy theorist much LU?

        • April 4th 2012 @ 12:29pm
          Latimer-Umaga said | April 4th 2012 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

          Despite ARU being the poorest of the three, O’neill seems to be the boss of SANZAR with his loud mouth. That’s why he is such a disliked person.

          • April 4th 2012 @ 4:55pm
            Justin said | April 4th 2012 @ 4:55pm | ! Report

            No he is disliked by many because he continues to beat up his NZ and SA colleagues…

      • April 4th 2012 @ 12:36pm
        Justin said | April 4th 2012 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

        And I know who really shot JFK… lets let the conspiracy theory go please. All Sanzar decisions I believe are unanimous so if NZ and SA were getting such a poor deal then there is no way they would let JON and Australia get such favourable terms on anything.

        • April 4th 2012 @ 1:12pm
          Team Taniwha said | April 4th 2012 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

          Every year the draw throws up vagaries which suit a particular team. Just look at the draw the Bulls seem to have got this year. Or the Stormers who get the Crusaders in NZ the week following the Crusaders travelling from South Africa. Or the Chiefs who got to play an ‘away’ game in Napier!

          Just one of vagaries of competition where not everyone plays each other and their is such phyical distances of travel.

          • April 4th 2012 @ 1:28pm
            Jutsie said | April 4th 2012 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

            I was always under the impression that the Saffas were the ones pushing for the conference style system as the increase in local derbies theoretically increased revenue.
            The saffas have on numerous occasions threatened to leave the SANZAR alliance if their demands were not met and seems their repeating that this year with their demand that 6 SA teams be included from next year.

            As an aussie supporter I would prefer less local derbies as it seems the aus teams always play conservatively in these games.

            Anyway the game has been professional for 16 years now so I don’t think homeground advantage should be an excuse for any team.
            The afl has similar inequalities in their fixture, non-victorian teams are at a severe disadvantage when it comes to games played outside of their home state yet in the past decade we have seen Brisbane, Sydney, West Coast and port adelaide all lift the cup at the end of the season.

      • April 4th 2012 @ 1:22pm
        Red Kev said | April 4th 2012 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

        SANZAR is run by South Africa. SA has the money, SA are also the only nation that can realistically walk away and still thrive (given their proximity to Europe and the competitions there). He who can destroy a thing controls it absolutely – that makes South Africa the one calling the shots.

        AUS Rugby is miniscule, the third or fourth code out of four. NZ has rugby as a religion but no ability to fund it given their small population, but they at least have the national interest and competition to keep the game alive. SA have NZ-like fervour but the addition of massive audiences and the associated wealth.

        The conference system appeases South Africa’s want for more revenue. The Super 12 became 14 to appease their demand for another team.

        Australia benefits certainly, but they are not the driving force. JON is no mug (a jerk certainly but not a fool) and knows Australia doesn’t have the depth for 5 teams currently, but he can see the immediate cash benefits of local derbies from a conference ssytem and the long term growth benefits of 5 teams in Australia … Rugby can’t grow in SA and NZ it’s already top dog.

        As for this:

        “How is it fair that two years running the Bulls had to travel to Brisbane?”

        The system changed. In Super 12 and 14 the years alternated so one year away, one year at home. In case you missed it between 2010 and 2011 the system changed (AT SOUTH AFRICA’S INSISTENCE) to be conference based so the scheduling altered. No matter when the change occurred some teams were going to play away twice and some at home twice in subsequent years. You will find similar discrepancies in other match ups.

        Stop bleating.

        The end result is this – the draw can favour you as much as you like you still have to perform in each match. The fact the Reds lost only 3 matches out of 18 si what makes them champions. The fact that one of their losses came at home to the team that finished 13th overall shows that in Super Rugby, every team is capable of beating every other team (Cheetahs over the Waratahs and Hurricanes anyone). Had the Christchurch earthquake not happened the Crusaders might well have won another title (I believe they had a game cancelled as well as all their travel), but they didn’t. Whinging about circumstance is small minded and pathetic – I see no Crusaders doing it, only loud-mouthed idiots in these threads.

        Build a bridge the lot of you.

        • April 4th 2012 @ 2:56pm
          Rugbug said | April 4th 2012 @ 2:56pm | ! Report

          I would suggest you go back and take a look at who wanted what, SA are not solely to blame for the conference system it was something strongly pushed for by O’Neill also to guarantee Australian representation in finals footy as with expansion from S12 – 14 Australian teams were struggling to get a look in.

          So maybe take off that eye patch Australia aren’t the innocent party here like you wish for us to believe.

          The Fact the draw was immeasurably in their favour MUST be taken into consideration, the FACT they played all the top teams at home bar the Stormers can not be discounted, The FACT they did not even play the Sharks whilst the Crusaders did not play the Rebels or Lions also can not be over looked. The FACT Dickinson made some appalling home town calls in the round robin match with the Crusaders is also a much debated point.
          Sure the Reds won the competition but to over look the overwhelming factors that were in their favour is pure ignorance!

          The conference system is a dud

          As Link said pre Bulls match beating them at home is much harder than playing at home and is the true test for the Reds.
          We all know how that turned out, they failed miserably!
          As I predicted may I add.

          • April 4th 2012 @ 3:11pm
            Jutsie said | April 4th 2012 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

            Geez your a real nostradamus picking that one.
            Just stating something is a FACT does not make it so. It is purely subjective whether dickinson made “appalling hometown calls” and is not a fact by definition.
            I suppose your going to blame the ARU for the ridiculous SANZAR policy of not having neutral refs anymore too.

            Maybe aussie supporters should start our own crazy conspiracy theory as it always seems to be aussie teams that get Johnathon kaplan when playing against the saffas or bryce lawrence when playing the kiwi teams.

          • April 4th 2012 @ 3:24pm
            Funk said | April 4th 2012 @ 3:24pm | ! Report

            So lets look from a different perspective than the as always, complete negative reds comments from rugbug…. did the sharks only made it into the finals because they didn’t have to play the top ranked team?

          • April 4th 2012 @ 7:45pm
            p.Tah said | April 4th 2012 @ 7:45pm | ! Report

            I enjoy the conference system, but it would be even better if south Africa didn’t object to the season being a few weeks longer so that everyone played every team.

          • April 5th 2012 @ 2:39pm
            Sage said | April 5th 2012 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

            You still gnawing feverishly at the same old bone Bugrug. Move on already. Fact – Reds played Crusaders twice and beat them twice. Fact the Reds won the tilte. End of story. Is it really that hard to accept ? Are you always so ungracious or is it just the usual anyone but Aus mentality ?

            • April 9th 2012 @ 10:11am
              MR said | April 9th 2012 @ 10:11am | ! Report

              🙂 and fact that Reds are getting trashed this year when playing away games …. reds won title last year will loose title this year … lets all move on and enjoy the rugby

    • April 4th 2012 @ 8:50am
      Rugbug said | April 4th 2012 @ 8:50am | ! Report

      Deans hardly won the Tri – Nations it was given to Australia on a platter with both NZ and SA playing development teams against each other. Both these countries had their eyes on the bigger price in 2011. Graham Henry is also on record stating that aside from the WC the Bledisloe is the most important trophy that was on offer in 2011 which they managed to retain.

      I am one of those detractors and so far have been proven emphatically right in my predictions that they would struggle against the top teams away from the comfort of Suncorp. Their effort against the Force was abysmal however I am still debating if the Force were outstanding or the Reds as I said previously were just abysmal, I would say it was a combination of both.
      Sure they are missing their first choice tens, however the Highlanders with less internationals are also down to a stand in 10 in Chris Noakes 3rd choice and looking to sign Mike Delaney I believe and they are still doing fine.
      Why many ask?
      Because they are a team that plays for each other and where one position is weak those around them become stronger and take on more of the responsibility. There are no Superstars in the Highlanders and this certainly helps the team gel as a unit.
      The Reds on the other hand seem to have this attitude that “its not my position” why should I pick up the slack.
      Justin is right also in the fact that Link (not the only coach by the way) has been tinkering with combinations and it has backfired. Quade is a good player however I think the Reds have made him into a untouchable demi god and have based their entire game plan around him. It seems that the Reds just do not have any confidence when he is not on the field, this is not down to the fact that the Reds are on 10 number 4 or 5 they struggled with their better 10s at the begining of the season and barely got across the line in their matches with the Tahs (away) and Force at home.
      Are they believing their own hype that they are the great team of Australian rugby, or are they simply being shown up for a poor conference and an unbelieveably favourable home draw last year?
      I firmly believe it is the latter.

      • April 4th 2012 @ 11:13am
        millard said | April 4th 2012 @ 11:13am | ! Report

        RUG,YOU MAKE SOME GOOD POINTS.the reds had been believing their own hype (this includes coach/es).now the reality has set in and ALL are being exposed?

        • April 4th 2012 @ 12:45pm
          peterlala said | April 4th 2012 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

          millard, reality hasn’t quite set in. The reality is that the Reds are the Super 15 champions. They beat the Crusaders in the final.

          Admittedly, the Crusaders had no home-town ground, following the eathquakes in Christchurch. But the Crusaders made matters infinitely worse by flying to London and back mid-season.

          I assume the Crusaders administration was trying to bolster earnings in a difficult year. It was an innovative promotion of southern hemisphere provinical rugby.

          Instead of criticising the Reds, disgruntled Crusader fans need to look closer to home to find the source of their frustrations.

          • April 4th 2012 @ 3:00pm
            Rugbug said | April 4th 2012 @ 3:00pm | ! Report

            So out of that entire comment which alluded top the tri-Nations of 2011 and the Reds flailing this year that is all you could come up with?

          • April 4th 2012 @ 3:13pm
            nick said | April 4th 2012 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

            and to be honest that the reds played 2 of the bottom 3 sides twice thereby gaining enough points to find a home advantage for the final, something only one team in history has overturned.

            I dare say most crusader fans have very little frustration seeing as the team made the semis in 2007,2009,2010 the final in 2011 and last winning it in 2008.

            Hardly a frustrating record

            • April 4th 2012 @ 3:18pm
              Rugbug said | April 4th 2012 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

              Technically two Nick
              The Bulls did it albeit it against their countrymen and the Crusaders over the Brumbies

              • April 4th 2012 @ 3:25pm
                nick said | April 4th 2012 @ 3:25pm | ! Report

                true thats right, i forgot about the bulls. A little less difficult than another country but those crowds in SA more than make up for the lack of distance traveled.

              • April 4th 2012 @ 4:30pm
                Justin said | April 4th 2012 @ 4:30pm | ! Report

                The Crusaders were very lucky to finish 2nd in 2000 when the beat the Brumbies by a point in the GF. They won very close games at home to the other finalists

      • April 5th 2012 @ 2:49pm
        Sage said | April 5th 2012 @ 2:49pm | ! Report

        Oh please don’t encourage him Millard. Yes the Tri was handed to us of course. Yes you had no interest whatsoever.
        What tosh. No argument the Reds are awful at the moment and regardless of how many injuries there are it’s no excuse I agree but spare us the constant one eyed ranting of anything anti Australian Rug.

    • April 4th 2012 @ 9:02am
      Jutsie said | April 4th 2012 @ 9:02am | ! Report

      The most disappointing aspect of the reds at the moments is how poor the forward pack is playing.
      The backline has an excuse for performing below last years standard, I challenge any s15 team to be at the top of their game when missing their first 3 choices at fly half, two centres who would be in the best 22 as well as possibly the best winger in world rugby.

      However the forwards have had few key injuries as hanson is a much better hooker than s. faiinga and the loss of wallace-harrison has been covered by humphries yet the pack is playing well below the standard they set last year.

      I don’t understand some of link’s selection policies. It is clear to everyone but him that the starting front row should be holmes, hanson, slipper yet he continues to choose daley. Daley is just too small and he has not been as effective around the park this year so there is no excuse to start him.
      He also needs to make decision on who his best backrow is and stick with it.

      • April 4th 2012 @ 12:46pm
        Justin said | April 4th 2012 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

        Jutsie I was going to respond to RugbUgs post but I think you have summed it up pretty well. The Reds pack is nothing on last year in its performance and there is really no excuse.

        The backs are a different kettle of fish and I dont think any team can perform to a decent level without Cooper, Harris, Lucas, Ioane (self inflicted), Fa’ainga, Lance etc etc. So it snot just replacing one position but this has had a domino effect as some of these players were the back up for other spots as well.

        Despite what many have and will continue to say the Reds deserved to win the comp last year. They played tough and exciting football and put their bodies on the line week in week out. This year they are most certainly not doing that and the results are there for all to see regardless of the injuries in the backs.

      • April 4th 2012 @ 1:11pm
        rl said | April 4th 2012 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

        throughly agree on the Reds pack. But coming back to my earlier point, are they just shagged after a big year? Overall they are pretty young, and year-in year-out consistency can be a struggle with younger players. The Reds pack prob exceeded expectations last year too, by at least achieving parity against superior packs (sound a bit like the Wallabies much?).

        • April 4th 2012 @ 1:41pm
          Jutsie said | April 4th 2012 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

          Yeah I think the youth argument is a valid point. It reminds me of the Hawks in the AFL, they won the 2008 premiership ahead of schedule but didnt even make the finals the following year.
          Its harder for younger guys to put in the same intensity when they experience the ultimate success so early but I think this is where link needs to step in and give these young blokes a kick up the ass instead of making excuses for them.

      • April 4th 2012 @ 1:26pm
        Red Kev said | April 4th 2012 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

        Excellent points. Somehow the Reds managed to cover their lack of a decent front-row last year with excellent play from their other forwards, this year they are all playing poorly (and games are still won up front no matter how many times the referee blows the whistle).
        Or course his odd selection policies probably make him more likely to be Wallaby coach – noone understands Deans’ choices either.

      • April 4th 2012 @ 3:03pm
        Rugbug said | April 4th 2012 @ 3:03pm | ! Report

        Highlanders anyone?
        They have lost their 2 first choice 10’s yet they are still performing rather well.
        Digbys absence can not even be taken into consideration he is out due to his own stupidity not injury

        • April 4th 2012 @ 3:25pm
          Jutsie said | April 4th 2012 @ 3:25pm | ! Report

          Ummmm his still absent, it does not matter why but his still absent so I dont see why we wouldn’t take it into consideration.

          And losing slade has probably benfitted the highlanders as he is hopeless. I think noakes was above him in the pecking order anyway before he injured himself in the first round.

          • April 4th 2012 @ 3:41pm
            Rugbug said | April 4th 2012 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

            Noakes ahead of the ABs WC back up ten? Hmm.
            The Highlanders have just as much right to cry injury over their tens as do the Reds yet I don’t see them capitulating due to the absence of a notable 10.
            Why because as I said above they are a team who play for each other and have stepped up to help cover their weak points, something reds players may want to learn.
            As for Digby he’s out of the squad because of his third tip tackle, no one else is to blame except the guy himself, if Reds fans are upset about him not being there why not send him a tweet.

            Using Digbys absence is hardly legitimite he would still be playing if he got his technique right.

            • April 4th 2012 @ 4:02pm
              Jutsie said | April 4th 2012 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

              Well if noakes and sopoanga weren’t ahead of slade at the start of the year why did jamie joseph start them instead of slade in first few rounds? It doesnt matter if he was at the world cup or not he’s not much chop.

              And I feel like this argument is going to go around in circles as you find it hard to comprehend logic but it does not matter the reason why ioane is out. The fact is his not playing at the moment and the team is weaker for it.
              No one is whingeing “Justice 4 Bakkies” style saying he was wronged we are just stating the fact that the team is weaker without him

              And you have only compared the loss of fly halfs in both teams yet ignore (intentionally?) the other injuries that I and others have listed.

              Nobody is crying their just stating the facts. And if you took your blinkers of you would see that most of us are blaming the forward pack’s lack of intensity, something the highlanders pack have in spades which would indicate why they are having such a great season, you could play daniel halanghahu behind that pack and they’d still go alright.

              Also just to clarify i’m a rebels supporter so you cant really use the barb that i’m a whingeing reds fan.

              • April 4th 2012 @ 4:31pm
                Funk said | April 4th 2012 @ 4:31pm | ! Report


              • April 4th 2012 @ 6:33pm
                Lippy said | April 4th 2012 @ 6:33pm | ! Report

                Its quite clear that Colin Shade was is the Highlanders number 1 flyhalf.
                To even suggest otherwise is to draw an almighty long bow. The only reason slade wasn’t started earlier this season was because of a hamstring strain.

                Your fooling no one with your claim Noakes was ahead of slade in the pecking order!

              • April 4th 2012 @ 6:39pm
                Lippy said | April 4th 2012 @ 6:39pm | ! Report

                p.s have you taken note of the injuries in other squads clearly not.
                Injuries only matter if the happen to Reds players.

                Also pays to note all the talk has been about the crisis at 10 within all the rugby media no other positions.
                Players get injured deal with it. Stop looking for excuses.
                On one hand you lot chastise those claiming the Reds title was undeserved yet here you are making excuses and claiming the moral high ground on their poor form.

              • April 4th 2012 @ 11:09pm
                liam said | April 4th 2012 @ 11:09pm | ! Report

                jutsie, slade wasnt being started because if you remember he was injured in the WC, and they were easing him back into it slowly.

                i agree with you he hasnt set the world on fire since people have talked him up but he’s still a great player who’s had bad luck… the highlanders will certainly prefer to have him fully fit! no question they are missing him.

                just something to consider.

            • April 4th 2012 @ 4:37pm
              Justin said | April 4th 2012 @ 4:37pm | ! Report

              RB – I know its hard for you to see but as has been pointed out numerous times it isnt just the 10s that the Reds have lost. They have been poor this year no question but you are comparing the loss of 2 10s to the loss of 3 10s a couple of 12s a couple of centres and 15s all thrown in.

              It aint that hard to just say the Reds are down to bare bones in the backs is it? Again the team has been awful, particularly the Aussie reps but if you cannot admit that then you just lose all credibility.

              PS Fact – Reds beat undefeated Stormers last year on their patch and didnt play the Sharks, who didnt make the finals, only beat the Rebels in Melbourne by 2 points, lost both games in NZ, then lost to the Stormers who you say were not that good at home! 😉

              • April 4th 2012 @ 7:07pm
                Steve.H said | April 4th 2012 @ 7:07pm | ! Report

                Sharks did make the finals

              • April 4th 2012 @ 7:12pm
                Justin said | April 4th 2012 @ 7:12pm | ! Report

                Nice pick up Steve, bugger. They qualified 6th with the worst PD of the finalists…

              • April 5th 2012 @ 12:41am
                steve.h said | April 5th 2012 @ 12:41am | ! Report

                well you would expect in 6th place to have the worst points difference out of the top 6. Mind you the bulls would have also qualified had the Brumbies not been so terrible last year.

        • April 4th 2012 @ 6:12pm
          millard said | April 4th 2012 @ 6:12pm | ! Report

          RUG ,agreed digby has played poorly this season ;a non event actually.His best game was the sharks prior to send off and even then he was given the gap by others.Both he and genia in same boat and cooper out ALL season so far and reds scrape through better in first 3 games than last year.Poor selections and tactics killed the reds from there on.

    • April 4th 2012 @ 9:19am
      Harry said | April 4th 2012 @ 9:19am | ! Report

      At full time of the 2011 Super Rugby final the scoreboard had Queensland with more points than their opposition. Therefore they were the Super Rugby champions. Whisper away and belittle that legitmate achievement by the coach and players all you want, it aint going to change that reality.
      Again to state the obvious, 2012 is a new competition. So far the Reds aren’t travelling at all well with several players down on form and several missing injured. And it was terrible to see them completely overwhelmed and humiliated in n the last 10 minutes of their matches against the Bulls and Force, and the being fairly inept for the first 70 minutes (count the dropped balls and turnovers by the Reds in both games, well past 20). But they are only a little over a third of the comp completed. Lets see how the points add up at the end of the season.
      My mail is that its unlikely Cooper will be ready for May 12 by the way.

      • Roar Guru

        April 4th 2012 @ 9:34am
        Hoy said | April 4th 2012 @ 9:34am | ! Report

        I agree Harry. I can’t understand people saying that they didn’t really deserve to win in 2011, and 2012 form proves it. they won in 2011. End of story, 2012 is a new season, and is no way related to the previous year. The injuries etc happen to every team, and this year, the Reds are under the pump.

        Do people say the Crusaders didn’t deserve their win in 2008 because they didn’t win in 2009? Or the Bulls were no good because they didn’t follow up 2010 with a win last year?

        Different years, different results.

        • April 4th 2012 @ 10:25am
          soapit said | April 4th 2012 @ 10:25am | ! Report

          sour grapes is the only explanation. they played by the rules of the comp and came out on top. nothing they do this year can (or will) change that

        • April 4th 2012 @ 3:16pm
          nick said | April 4th 2012 @ 3:16pm | ! Report

          no its because in those years every team played every other team therefore we got a true result. This conference system doesn’t allow for that and that will heavily favour certain sides in any given year.


          • Roar Guru

            April 4th 2012 @ 4:23pm
            Hoy said | April 4th 2012 @ 4:23pm | ! Report

            Yeah, but this year it will favour someone else who wins. Get over it. Last year the Reds won. Hopefully this year they will win again. If they don’t, I will hardly be saying the team that won didn’t deserve it. To do so is terribly petty.

            • April 4th 2012 @ 10:18pm
              Nick said | April 4th 2012 @ 10:18pm | ! Report

              None of that denies the fact that the reds got it all in their favour last year. That’s all I’m saying. They had a MASSIVE leg up. To admit that is to be honest, nothing more; nothing less

              • April 5th 2012 @ 10:33am
                Harry said | April 5th 2012 @ 10:33am | ! Report

                But what about the massive legup New Zealand and South African sides get by bringing their own refs to games against Australian sides? Even happened in the 2011 final FFS!
                That’s all I’m saying. They have a MASSIVE leg up. To admit that is to be honest, nothing more; nothing less.

              • April 6th 2012 @ 8:02am
                Nick said | April 6th 2012 @ 8:02am | ! Report

                That’s not actually a serious comment is it Harry. Probably best to just leave that alone I guess, not really worth the time and energy?

          • April 4th 2012 @ 4:57pm
            Justin said | April 4th 2012 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

            You didnt get a true result at all actually. If it isnt home AND away then certain teams will get the “good draw”.

            • April 4th 2012 @ 10:22pm
              Nick said | April 4th 2012 @ 10:22pm | ! Report

              At least the stronger teams get to play the weakest in that format. Last year the refs played 2 of the 3 bottom placed teams twice which gave them big points to gain them home ground advantage.

        • April 5th 2012 @ 2:58pm
          Sage said | April 5th 2012 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

          You would also need to understand Kiwi mentality when it comes to understanding things like this Hoy.

          • April 6th 2012 @ 8:04am
            Nick said | April 6th 2012 @ 8:04am | ! Report

            Yeah you be right there sage. Wanting to see a fair contest would be a reasonable definition of the kiwi mentality. That used to be an Australian mentality too

      • April 4th 2012 @ 10:52am
        WQ said | April 4th 2012 @ 10:52am | ! Report

        Well said Harry, every Super Rugby title holder throughout the entire history of the competition has been won with an element of luck attached to the winners campaign somewhere along the way. Every competition regardless of skill, depth and quality of Coaches/Players requires an element of good fortune to make it through to a final and win it. The QLD Reds received that last year, however nobody can take away the fact that given their opportunities they were good enough to take them – full stop!
        Anybody that tells you the Reds did not deserve to win the title in 2011 is delusional.

        • April 4th 2012 @ 2:46pm
          AussieKiwi said | April 4th 2012 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

          Exactly what I was going to say. Luck is an important part of sport. All winning teams have their share, the Reds perhaps had more than their share last year, as did the ABs in the world cup. In neither case does it detract from their achievement.

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