Waratahs riding the Debacle bus

LeftArmSpinner Roar Guru

By LeftArmSpinner, LeftArmSpinner is a Roar Guru

 , , ,

57 Have your say

    Our evening started at 5:30pm with a few delicious European beers, 500mls each, at Canberra’s rugby-centric bar known as Debacle. It was a fitting way to begin our night, which ended with the Brumbies-Waratahs game in Syndey.

    Right on time, the so-called Debacle Bus turned up. It was immediately and entirely flooded with Brumbies fans.

    I managed to jag a seat, appropriately next to the only other Waratahs fan, a very brave young man in a Tahs jersey.

    As we set off, I noticed that six packs of beer were being handed back, overhead, through the crowded bus.

    Oh yea! Beer for all just to keep the fun going. Brilliant.

    I surmised that such a great idea must have been born during the darkest days and poor crowds of the Brumbies’ previous seasons.

    Now, it is returning to being a celebration of an exciting and cohesive young and fearless rugby team.

    As I bonded immediately with my new best friend and co-Waratahs fan Richard, he turned out to be a relative of my son’s current rugby coach. What a small world!

    When I commented on his apparent bravery, he said that this crowd was tame compared to the reception he gets when he wears it to Reds versus Tahs games in Brisbane. Touché.

    Canberra Stadium, the flood lit oasis surrounded by the darkness of the Australian bush, is a great place to watch rugby.

    Our seats were surrounded the Brumbies’ male choir.

    While these gentlemen can sing, and add to the atmosphere of the evening, they also know their rugby.

    They were aided by regular reports from one of their colleagues who scanned the airwaves for statistics and juicy tidbits.

    In the 41st minute, after trading penalties, Speight got the ball with nothing on but only 15 metres from the try line.

    He went to the one metre of outside space and defied the laws of physics, dancing down the wing without stepping into touch.

    Still hemmed in, he then stepped off his right foot, dissecting two Waratahs defenders to score the first try just before half time.

    While it was this individual brilliance that turned the game, the Brumbies had looked sharper and more likely to score tries throughout the first half.

    There was a precision and purpose to their play when they had the ball, which the Tahs could not achieve.

    While the Brumbies defence was watertight, it helped that the Tahs backline attack was insipid, ponderous and quickly became unstructured.

    Tom Kingston made seven runs, statistically. In reality, he was receiving the ball flatfooted and/or stationary.

    He resorted to a dance-like jigging around, the like of which is commonly seen in the very lowest divisions of Tuesday evening mixed touch footy.

    It doesn’t work on Tuesday evenings and it didn’t work last night against the likes of school mate McCabe, Smith or Hooper.

    The Tahs had 70-percent possession in the first half, but went to oranges 13-6 down.

    Tatafu Polota-Nau’s departure 32 minutes in derailed both the scrum and line out.

    Polota-Nau’s bravery is renowned but his kamikaze-inspired tackle that first injured him was immature, selfish and simply dumb.

    Don’t go for the big tackles unless you have done the hard work of getting into position to make the hit.

    Tatafu Polota-Nau, despite many injuries, is still yet to learn this lesson. John Ulugia is also yet to learn how to throw into the line out.

    The second half was more of the same. The Brumbies were dominating the breakdown and overall conceded 14 turnovers to the Tahs.

    In the end the Tahs dominated all stats except turnovers and the scoreboard.

    Even when the Brumbies were reduced to 14 men for the remaining six minutes, the Tahs could not remotely mount a competent try-scoring passage of play.

    Dennis, Palu, Kepu, Betham and Barnes all tried hard for the Tahs.

    Adam Ashley-Cooper was uninspired, invisible and is a shadow of the player of years past.

    Barnes seemed very frustrated as the match wore on and his decision making suffered accordingly.

    Lealiifano was inventive and the fulcrum of the attack. His serious injury in the last play of the game is a big problem.

    With Toomua already out for the season and Shute Shield’s fly-half ranks already plundered, I am guessing it will be either Nic White, Robbie Coleman or Cam Crawford who steps into the number 10 jersey.

    The glaring difference between the teams was the speed of thought. The Brumbies were that crucial half-second faster in thought and deed than the Tahs.

    It reminded me of a boxing mismatch, where one fighter is progressively picked apart by the faster opponent and made to look sluggish, tired and eventually tragic.

    The 2012 Brumbies are uncluttered in thought and inherently confident, such that their well-trained instinct can function and flourish.

    For the Waratahs, 2012 is over. More importantly, the 2012 result is the same as the past 17 years of under-performance.

    We returned to the jocularity of the buoyant Debacle Bus passengers. The Brumbies had delivered an exciting game and result, with some help from the Tahs.

    Over a few more imported beers, we began planning the next Canberra trip for the Brumbies’ impending home qualifying final and another Debacle Bus ride.

    This video is trending right now! Submit your videos for the chance to win a share of $10,000!

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (57)

    • May 8th 2012 @ 5:37am
      mania said | May 8th 2012 @ 5:37am | ! Report

      AAC needs to get of the tah’s. they’re ruining his career. i’m almost positive that he still has the goods but is stifled in the tah’s environment. he gets moved around too often and needs to go somewhere he can start specialising in a position.

      • Roar Guru

        May 8th 2012 @ 7:45am
        LeftArmSpinner said | May 8th 2012 @ 7:45am | ! Report

        I would agree except that his form last year at. The Brumbies was also poor. He was my favorite player since his first wallabies game but he is a shadow of his former self and playing on reputation only at the moment.

        • May 8th 2012 @ 7:47am
          mania said | May 8th 2012 @ 7:47am | ! Report

          LAS – cant remember whta game i watched but AAC showed glimpses of brilliance. i reckon in the right environment he’ll come right as he’s a smart player. his coaches keep moving him around and this is IMO what is hampering his playing. a bit of stability and i imagine we’ll the adam of old.

          • May 8th 2012 @ 7:55am
            ilikedahoodoogurusingha said | May 8th 2012 @ 7:55am | ! Report

            He had a pretty decent game against the Crusaders last week…..glimpses of his glory days!

            • May 8th 2012 @ 8:10am
              mania said | May 8th 2012 @ 8:10am | ! Report

              wasnt that game but yeah he played well then. was another game this season where he did some real intelligent stuff. reckon he’s still got it just needs to be out of the tah’s and for dingo to quit fkin him around and moving him all the time

              • May 8th 2012 @ 10:44am
                nomis said | May 8th 2012 @ 10:44am | ! Report

                Yep. ACC’s form this year and last at the Brumbies has been wavering. I don’t think it’s the Tahs. But interesting suggestion about whether it has to do with his constant changing of position at provincial/national level???

    • May 8th 2012 @ 6:55am
      ilikedahoodoogurusingha said | May 8th 2012 @ 6:55am | ! Report

      “With Toomua already out for the season and Shute Shield’s fly-half ranks already plundered, I am guessing it will be either Nic White, Robbie Coleman or Cam Crawford who steps into the number 10 jersey. ”

      Don’t forget Zack Holmes…I watched him play a couple of games for Northern Suburbs at 10 last year. He is also a decent place kicker.

      • Roar Guru

        May 8th 2012 @ 7:43am
        LeftArmSpinner said | May 8th 2012 @ 7:43am | ! Report

        Lika, interesting about Zac as I am about to publish an article proposing the likely replacements, their medical status and suitability. Watch this space.

        • May 8th 2012 @ 7:55am
          ilikedahoodoogurusingha said | May 8th 2012 @ 7:55am | ! Report

          Will do!! 😀

        • May 8th 2012 @ 9:14am
          The Bone said | May 8th 2012 @ 9:14am | ! Report

          CAm carwford played all his schoolboy and colts rugby at 10, could be a good option

        • May 8th 2012 @ 1:08pm
          Max Power said | May 8th 2012 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

          Have you considered Hamish Angus? Consistent first-grader for Warringah, former Aussie sevens and has spent time previously with the Brumbies academy.

          • Roar Guru

            May 8th 2012 @ 5:54pm
            LeftArmSpinner said | May 8th 2012 @ 5:54pm | ! Report

            Max, I saw his name but didnt know anything about him. He could be a possible if he was inside the Brumbies academy.

    • May 8th 2012 @ 8:08am
      Justin said | May 8th 2012 @ 8:08am | ! Report

      Great write up LAS, very enjoyable. One word – coaching.

      • Roar Guru

        May 8th 2012 @ 5:55pm
        LeftArmSpinner said | May 8th 2012 @ 5:55pm | ! Report

        Justin, I will give you another word: Culture.

        • May 8th 2012 @ 6:05pm
          Justin said | May 8th 2012 @ 6:05pm | ! Report


    • May 8th 2012 @ 8:34am
      Sailosi said | May 8th 2012 @ 8:34am | ! Report

      I’ve said it in another post but the waratahs need to make a statement. Barnes, Ashley-Cooper, Mumm, Carter, Halangahu, Elsom, Palu all need to be cut, there are too many players who have been part of an unsuccessful generation. I hate the term rebuilding but they need some fresh blood. They’re like a patchwork quilt, with quick fixes but no results and every season they start the same process all over again.

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download The Roar’s iPhone App in the App Store here.

      • May 8th 2012 @ 8:48am
        Mals said | May 8th 2012 @ 8:48am | ! Report

        Sailosi – I agree the Tahs need to cut some dead wood like Elsom, Hangers & Carter. Mumm is definitely departing at the end of this season, Palu however has just re-signed with the Tahs for 2013.

        • May 8th 2012 @ 9:01am
          Blinky Bill of Bellingen said | May 8th 2012 @ 9:01am | ! Report

          The question I ask myself is that if these coaches were responsible for signing duds from other provinces, failing to hold onto good players and can’t coach the current talent we have, then what chance is there that they will succeed with rookies?

          I think people look at what Jake White has achieved in Canberra and see it at The Solution. The trouble is that the Tahs do not have a Jake White as coach. 🙁

          • May 8th 2012 @ 5:23pm
            AndyS said | May 8th 2012 @ 5:23pm | ! Report

            Funnily enough, that came up once before when the Force where going through their trials with Mitchell. What he said was:

            “….. I’d love to coach in Australia, but if I was to do so, there is another team that has always fascinated me, the one team that has always underperformed – the Waratahs. If the Waratahs could ever get everything right off the field, no one could ever touch them.”

            NSWRU chief executive Jim L’Estrange, who went through the exhausting process of finding a replacement for dumped Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie last year before settling on Chris Hickey, said last night the Waratahs were flattered by White’s interest but had made the changes necessary to throw off the underachiever tag.

            • May 8th 2012 @ 9:45pm
              Blinky Bill of Bellingen said | May 8th 2012 @ 9:45pm | ! Report

              That’s a good read Andy and reveals much about The Waratah management at the time.

              • May 8th 2012 @ 11:18pm
                spaldo said | May 8th 2012 @ 11:18pm | ! Report

                Prophesy OMG, this article is from 2009!

                “If the Waratahs could ever get everything right off the field, no one could ever touch them.”

                Says it all, doesn’t it.

                On a side note, to get better ratings from “The Code” in it’s second series, why not focus on the backroom dealings and cock-ups of the administrators in a “Real Housewives of the (Tahs)” way. Much more entertaining than Schmoo and Fatcat’s antics. Should be a ratings winner.

      • May 8th 2012 @ 8:53am
        mania said | May 8th 2012 @ 8:53am | ! Report

        sailosi – after what jakeWhites done with the brumbies i reckon this needs to be done to the tah’s. complete clean out and start again.
        barnes and AAC i’d keep as they’re both intelligent players but i’d make them earn the right to make starting line up. palu and TPN i would start playing off the bench. they’re not an 80 min player

        • Roar Guru

          May 8th 2012 @ 5:56pm
          LeftArmSpinner said | May 8th 2012 @ 5:56pm | ! Report

          Mania, it is more than a clean out. the joke is that the players left rather than were sacked………..more fool them.

          • May 9th 2012 @ 5:18am
            mania said | May 9th 2012 @ 5:18am | ! Report

            and good thing they left. allowed jake to do what needed to be done.

      • May 8th 2012 @ 11:15am
        Will Sinclair said | May 8th 2012 @ 11:15am | ! Report

        Unsuccessful generation?

        The Tahs have made the semi-finals five times, and the Final twice, in seven years…

        There are plenty of clubs who would love to be this unsuccessful!

        • Roar Guru

          May 8th 2012 @ 5:59pm
          LeftArmSpinner said | May 8th 2012 @ 5:59pm | ! Report

          Will, the tahs are 135 years old, come from the biggest and wealthiest city/state in the Super rugby comp, have amazing facilities.

          It is all about winning. this is professional sport and the the code rides and depends on winning. if the Brumbies and the reds can win, so can the tahs…………….they have to

    • May 8th 2012 @ 9:16am
      Sailosi said | May 8th 2012 @ 9:16am | ! Report

      The waratahs are a reflection of what is wrong with Australian rugby in general, they are so inward looking and they never take risks, especially with regards to recruiting. There are a number of Jesse Moggs and Fotu Auelas out there but the waratahs would rather be conservative and boring and recruit Adam Ashley-Cooper than have a crack at a young kid. I know for a fact that a person at the waratahs desperately wanted to recruit Rupeni Caucau after the 2003 world cup, rugby was in the public eye and he was one of the brightest stars and in the world and he was keen to come, but the waratahs and the ARU dilly dallied and couldn’t make up there mind and he joined Narbonne and his next 2 years in France were incredible.

      They need to get out in the world and see what’s out there. The best Australian number 8 is Talelei Gray, a standout performer for Biarritz and is 23 years of age. Take a chance on something, they need a spark. They should have had a go at Alesana Tuilagi, Juan Martin Hernandez, something, anything.

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download The Roar’s iPhone App in the App Store here.

      • May 8th 2012 @ 9:39am
        Justin said | May 8th 2012 @ 9:39am | ! Report

        Sailosi – regarding Talelei Gray, he is a Victorian kid. I wondered what had happened to him. How much of him have you seen lately? Be interested to hear your comments about his game style.

      • May 8th 2012 @ 11:38am
        bmwwilliams said | May 8th 2012 @ 11:38am | ! Report

        Sailosi, this touches on what I have long thought about the Tahs.

        They have first crack at the largest youth player base in the country, so should be masters of taking unknown youngsters and turning them into stars. This is something the Brumbies always seem to have been good at, probably because they’re used to being the ‘less desirable’ second team for Sydney area players.

        Unfortunately it seems in recent years they would rather use their status as the country’s biggest franchise in the country’s biggest city, to lure established players from other teams. They really need to reinvent themselves as a non-political and well-coached organisation, capable of nurturing young talent. I can’t say I’m holding my breath…

        • May 8th 2012 @ 1:32pm
          Don said | May 8th 2012 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

          bmw, I was going to write something almost identical. It’s a huge problem for the Wallabies (but great for a Brumbies fan), when the Tahs consistently fail in talent spotting and player development, and keep papering over the cracks with high profile acquisitions from other states. It’ll be a long-haul to get the systems in place, but until they do it we’ll keep hearing abouut the lack of depth in Aussie rugby and the Wallabies will struggle to consistently match up with the Kiwis and Jaapies.

        • May 8th 2012 @ 2:33pm
          Markus said | May 8th 2012 @ 2:33pm | ! Report

          Exactly right, and you don’t have to look any further than flyhalf to show how poor their track record is in recent times.
          Discounting Barnes, who started his Wallaby career while still at the Reds, you can count the number of Wallaby caps received by Waratah flyhalves in the last 15-20 years on one hand.

          I even recall George Smith saying he was told in no uncertain terms that he was only the 5th best openside flanker in NSW, before being signed up by the Brumbies. I am happy to buy a beer for whoever was talent scout for the Tahs at that time 🙂

      • Roar Guru

        May 8th 2012 @ 6:00pm
        LeftArmSpinner said | May 8th 2012 @ 6:00pm | ! Report

        they dont need to. just choose the best juniors and bring them through. they will get the job done if the organisation does the best by them

    • Roar Guru

      May 8th 2012 @ 9:25am
      sixo_clock said | May 8th 2012 @ 9:25am | ! Report

      If’n youse plannin’ ‘nuther trip spurcifikerly too watch the brummies I would be sugges’n and a hintin’ you join up leftie. They’n all dumb country hicks durn thar who don’ know much ’bout nothing except flukin’ an’ partyin’ an’ celibatin’ an’ finalisin’ an a winnerisin’. Purty boring for us’n Rugger folks.

      This club has all the dots ticked, ie no traditional loyalties with its unnecessary baggage freshens the air and brings results. I am pretty sure the fans are not all locals, in fact I know some people who now live in the ACT precisely because there was someone other than the Qld-NSW-RU snorefest to promote the game.

      Stay loyal to the game, your subby club, but corporate entities, not now, or ever.

      • Roar Guru

        May 8th 2012 @ 6:02pm
        LeftArmSpinner said | May 8th 2012 @ 6:02pm | ! Report

        i got friends n hi places. yep, i can get az many az i wants……………..

    , , ,