SPIRO: Northern Hemisphere scribes write off Wallabies, as usual

Spiro Zavos Columnist

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    Wallaby glory against Wales came with an All Black twist (AAP Image/Joe Castro)

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    If I can make a sort of rugby political statement, this weekend is a reminder to followers of the game here in Australia who are inclined to bag its prospects that it is vibrant and growing immensely throughout the world.

    And next year that worldwide interest and attention will focus on Australia for the tour of the British and Irish Lions.

    Right now, though, the interest of the rugby world is focused on Europe where countries major and minor in the world rankings make their annual pilgrimage to the northern hemisphere rugby power centres.

    The first matches of the pilgrimage tours are on Friday (European time) with a double-header at Colwyn Bay, Wales, when Russia plays the USA in Wales and Samoa plays Canada.

    Then there are a series of internationals, many of which are shown on the pay television channels of Fox Sports: England – Fiji, Ireland – South Africa, France – Australia (also on Channel 10), Wales – Argentina, Italy – Tonga and possibly (there are complications yet to be resolved) Scotland – New Zealand.

    There are other internationals in this round as well which won’t be televised on pay television here: Romania – Japan in Bucharest, Uruguay – Portugal which will be played in South America at Montevideo.

    The point about all this is to that after football, rugby union is the only other world wide football code. It is the Pepsi Cola of the football codes, admittedly, to football/soccer’s status as the Coca Cola world game.

    And to make the point further, rugby teams from the southern hemisphere have been coming across the ocean to the northern hemisphere to play rugby since the famous tour of the New Zealand Native team of 1888/89 which played 107 matches, including the then Victorian Rules football and football in Australia, and internationals in the UK with a squad of 26 players! The side recorded 78 wins, six draws and only 23 losses.

    It is fitting that one of the international teams currently playing in the UK is the Maori All Blacks, the latter-day version of the New Zealand Native side.

    Like so many later sides from the southern hemisphere, the Native team was perplexed and often undone by dodgy home town team refereeing, especially when they played England and the referee was the secretary of the RFU (the English rugby union).

    A British team toured Australia and New Zealand in 1888 playing rugby union generally but Victorian Rules Football in Victoria. This team played 27 matches, drew six and lost just two.

    So 124 years later the touring is still going on. It is true to say that these two great tours set a pattern for rugby union that has made touring part of the DNA of the culture of the game.

    Coming back to the Wallabies current tour that starts on the weekend with a Test against France at Paris,  the UK experts have, typically, written off the chances of the Wallabies.

    Ian Payten, who is covering the Wallabies tour for The Daily Telegraph, has an article quoting Paul Ackford, the former England second-rower and the rugby expert for The Sunday Telegraph, suggesting that England will probably lose to South Africa and New Zealand but ‘my head says one win – against Australia … and Wales should pip Australia to bring a month-long extravaganza to a close.’

    It seems to have escaped Ackford’s notice and Stuart Barnes (‘Wales will finally beat Australia’) that in the last two years the Wallabies have played Wales five times for five wins.

    And here is Sean Fitzpatrick who seems to be an honoary Pom these days: ‘France can definitely beat Australia.’

    Sean, the last time the two teams played against each other the Wallabies won 59 – 16 at Paris, scoring over 40 points in the second half.

    The point here is that everyone is entitled to their opinions. Even Michael Lynagh is writing off the Wallabies suggesting that ‘both England and France can beat Australia.’

    But there should be some respect for the Wallabies in what they have achieved in recent years, like beating Wales this year 3 – 0 in a Test sewries in Australia, as well as drawing 18 – 18 draw with the rampant All Blacks, when predictions are being made.

    On The Roar a few days ago I was taken to task for not giving a detailed analysis of the state of the French side and their chances against the Wallabies. It is easier to make this point than to give the analysis, however. The fact is that France are coming together for the first time since June when they lost and won Tests against the Pumas in Argentina.

    And French sides are notoriously difficult to predict. As the cliche says, ‘it depends which side turns up for the day.’ In the 2011 Rugby World Cup tournament they lost to Tonga in the pool rounds and nearly upset the All Blacks in the final.

    And the last time they played the Wallabies, as I pointed out earlier, they were competitive in the first half and then were a rabble as Adam Ashley-Cooper cut them to shreds in the second half.

    So we can re-phrase the cliche, perhaps: it depends which French side turns up for both halves of the Test.

    The Wallabies are still three players sort of their best Test side (Will Genia, James O’Connor and James Horwill). The biggest loss of these three are probably O’Connor and Genia, because they are try-scorers. The biggest fault with the Wallabies this year has been the team’s inability to score tries. Genia and O’Connor will help in this aspect – but only next year.

    Deans has singled out the French pack as a problem. But it also has to be conceded that if the Wallaby forwards play with the ferocity and intensity and skill they did against the All Blacks, they could easily match the French brutes up front.

    And under Andrew Blades, the Wallaby scrum is now on a par with good scrumming teams like the All Blacks, the Pumas and the Springboks. They will have to cope with the new three-call scrum engagements. But from the evidence  in the ITM Cup in New Zealand this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

    Hopefully, though, the referee Welshman Nigel Owens will not continue what has been something of a whistling rhapsody against the Wallabies. After a Test against England, the ARU made an official complaint and there needs to be evidence now that Owens has accepted the justified criticisms of his performance.

    The other two southern hemisphere powers should come out on top, too. South Africa play Ireland at Dublin with Wayne Barnes as the referee. There are some exciting Boks backs waiting to be unleashed if Heyneke Meyer is prepared to let them have their head and Barnes allows the flow of the game to be expansive.

    This same warning or criticism applies also to the Scotland – All Blacks match at Edinburgh. The referee is an inexperienced French official, Jerome Garces who gave an appalling whistle-happy performance in a recent European club match by handing out 27 penalties (shades of Alain Rolland!).

    Scotland have played negative, spoiling rugby for decades. Why the IRB would give them a referee who will encourage this negativity and stifle the brilliant, high-tempo game the All Blacks are striving to play is beyond belief.

    I hope the fact that the IRB boss of the referees is a Scotsman has nothing to do with the mindset behind the appointment.

    Why the South African Jaco Peyper who is refereeing Romania – Japan or Craig Joubert wasn’t given the game is a mystery. Or Steve Walsh.

    The southern hemisphere powers have had to put up with northern hemisphere whistle-happy refereeing pedants in The Rugby Championship. It is a bit rich for the IRB to continue to inflict them on the only teams in the world rugby who are trying to produce a result and a spectacle.

    In 2010, the southern hemisphere big three played 11 Tests in Europe for 9 wins and two losses. I reckon that this sort of ratio, despite the northern hemisphere referees, will apply in 2012 as well.

    So this weekend, it’s game on for the latest chapter of the endless story of touring rugby teams …


    Spiro Zavos
    Spiro Zavos

    Spiro Zavos, a founding writer on The Roar, was long time editorial writer on the Sydney Morning Herald, where he started a rugby column that has run for nearly 30 years. Spiro has written 12 books: fiction, biography, politics and histories of Australian, New Zealand, British and South African rugby. He is regarded as one of the foremost writers on rugby throughout the world.

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    The Crowd Says (116)

    • November 8th 2012 @ 2:39am
      HardData said | November 8th 2012 @ 2:39am | ! Report

      Uncle Spiro!!

      Why do you not mention the unavailability of ALL Black matches in EUROPE on FOXTEL.

      Polling gave you a wrong solution!!!!!!

      Or just a genuine conflict of Interest?????

      • Columnist

        November 8th 2012 @ 9:28am
        Spiro Zavos said | November 8th 2012 @ 9:28am | ! Report

        HardData, I did mention the problems of getting the Scotland – All Blacks match on Fox Sports. It seems to be broadcast on 502 at 1.30 am Monday morning, Sydney time. But we will know this I presume when the broadcast time comes.

        This, as I understand it, is a problem with the UK authorities as the authorities in NZ and here and Australia are having problems getting the fixture up.

        There is no conflict of interest considerations in what I wrote. I am often critical of certain members of the Fox Sports rugby coverage, for instance, And, on the other hand, relish the work of Greg Clark, Tim Horan and Rod Kafer.

        I am an ancient who remembers trying to listen to overseas Tests on a crackling radio. Fox Sports does a terrific job bringing a huge amount of rugby to enthusiasts here in Australia for what I consider to be a reasonable price.

        • November 8th 2012 @ 6:11pm
          allblackfan said | November 8th 2012 @ 6:11pm | ! Report

          Scotland-NX on Fox in not the problem as Fox is showing it.
          Italy-NZ is the problem. Sky NZ (ie Fox) so far can’t get the rights for it

        • November 9th 2012 @ 1:01am
          HardData said | November 9th 2012 @ 1:01am | ! Report

          Spiro, your response was mostly decent but think you may have danced around the point.

          I have to pay an extra $40-60 to watch All Blacks v Eng/Wales on Setanta yet will be watching Eng/Fiji for my $200/month commitment over the last 5 years in SYDNEY.

          How much is FOXTEL actually making from KIWIS in Australia and how does this benefit the NZRFU???

          How can SKY in NZ currently reporting huge local super-profits (By NZ standards) still have the Italy test broadcast in doubt???

          Also on a side point Tim Horan is so QLD biased that his tipping on the Rugby Club is only worsened by Kearns because of his blue patch. (They are both around Greg Martins stupidity and this must be just plain embarrassing for all concerned.)

          Are they not accountable for their consistently rubbish predictions??? (Not on Fox obviously)

    • November 8th 2012 @ 2:59am
      kingplaymaker said | November 8th 2012 @ 2:59am | ! Report

      It is odd that despite no team from the British Isles or Ireland beating or drawing with New Zealand for…6 or 7 years?…they are supposed to beat the Wallabies who despite massive injuries drew with New Zealand.

      I wouldn’t agree the Wallabies are anywhere near their best team.

      I think that if fit, JOC, Ioane, Tomane, Lealiifano and Genia would all start in the team. Also one has to say Cooper probably would. One of JOC, Ioane and Tomane would be forced into the centres.

      With no injuries, I think the Australia backline would be Genia, Cooper, JOC, Lealiifano, Ioane (or JOC or Tomane in this position), Tomane, Beale.

      (Plus there should be some newcomers like Sautia and who knows who, although Foley’s wanton and mindless destruction of Jordan Rapana’s career may have ended another young talent’s chances if he doesn’t get picked up by one of the other franchises.)

      That backline is 50 times more dangerous in attack than the current one and would run riot on the back of a performance such as that given by the Wallaby pack against the All Blacks.

      • November 8th 2012 @ 5:53am
        Justin2 said | November 8th 2012 @ 5:53am | ! Report

        Still no Tapuai… Best centre in AUS KPM

        • November 8th 2012 @ 7:23am
          kingplaymaker said | November 8th 2012 @ 7:23am | ! Report

          Justin2 Tapuai did quite well against New Zealand, but in my opinion that’s all he is, quite good, not outstanding. In terms of fit players now though he’s certainly the best centre, but serious competition should come before too long.

          • November 8th 2012 @ 7:35am
            Justin2 said | November 8th 2012 @ 7:35am | ! Report

            And we will continue to disagree on many things…

            • November 8th 2012 @ 12:25pm
              jameswm said | November 8th 2012 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

              Tomane ahead of Tapuai in the centres?

              Seriously KPM, what are you on?

            • November 8th 2012 @ 1:00pm
              Lats said | November 8th 2012 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

              Mate, agreed, Taps has been the best Oz centre for 2 years, he was a very underestimated player during 2011 in many regards as punters focused on Quad and Will Genia…. he worked well of QC shoulder, no reason he couldnt do the same for Kurtley. 😉

      • November 8th 2012 @ 6:41am
        Chris said | November 8th 2012 @ 6:41am | ! Report

        “It is odd that despite no team from the British Isles or Ireland beating or drawing with New Zealand for…6 or 7 years?…they are supposed to beat the Wallabies”

        Because Australia isn’t New Zealand?

        Our record against teams from the “British Isles” (and that term is only 80 years out of date, by the way) is nowhere near as good.
        Of our last 2 games against each of them we have lost 5 and won 3.

        Your “but we drew with NZ” method of reasoning has about as much merit as saying that because New Zealand beat Australia the last time we met in Cricket, and because Australia rolled India the last time we played them, New Zealand should therefore beat India. That is playground logic and most people left it behind when they finished primary school.

        • November 8th 2012 @ 7:28am
          kingplaymaker said | November 8th 2012 @ 7:28am | ! Report

          Chris things change. See my answer to Jerry.

      • November 8th 2012 @ 6:46am
        Hurl said | November 8th 2012 @ 6:46am | ! Report

        Are you saying that on their day they could cut any back line in the world to threads.. ?

        I’ve heard that said before somewhere…………

      • November 8th 2012 @ 7:02am
        Jerry said | November 8th 2012 @ 7:02am | ! Report

        No, that’s not odd cause it happens all the time. Aus & SA tend to lift when they play NZ but, even when in form, can still drop matches to NH sides.

        Look at 2009 – SA were the form side in the TN winning 5 from 6, but they lost to France & Ireland on the end of year tour.
        2010, the Wallabies beat NZ in HK but lost to England at Twickenham.
        Last year, the Wallabies beat NZ in the TN but lost to Ireland in the RWC.

        • November 8th 2012 @ 7:25am
          kingplaymaker said | November 8th 2012 @ 7:25am | ! Report

          Results which were not exactly predictable.

          Perhaps the difference is that while it took a fit first XV to do well against the ABs on the two previous occasions, now it only takes a hybrid 3rd/2nd/1st XV to do the same, and that indicates the extent of the improvement.

          Most importantly though, the England and Ireland losses were due to the forwards being bullied and the Australian pack has improved significantly since then and were the best feature of the performance against the All Blacks.

          • November 8th 2012 @ 7:48am
            Jerry said | November 8th 2012 @ 7:48am | ! Report

            How often does something have to happen before it is a recognisable trend.

            The Wallabies have beaten the AB’s 5 times since 2004 (the last time the AB’s lost to a side from the UK or Ireland was 03). These wins were in 04, 07, 08, 10 and 11.

            In 04, they beat all UK & Ireland opposition but did lose to France.
            In 07, they lost to England
            In 08, they lost to Wales
            In 10, they lost to England
            In 11, they lost to Ireland.

            Regardless of performance against the AB’s, the Wallabies have lost at least once to NH opposition every season since 2004. Recent history shows that both Aus and SA struggle for consistency.

            And regarding the forward performance, the Wallaby pack was if anything more dominant in the Brisbane win last year but that didn’t stop them getting bullied against Ireland. The phrase ‘one swallow does not make a summer’ comes to mind.

            I’m not saying Aus won’t be able to back it up, but I won’t be slightly surprised if they drop a match. In fact, given recent history you’d have to say they’d be expected to.

            • November 8th 2012 @ 7:55am
              kingplaymaker said | November 8th 2012 @ 7:55am | ! Report

              I agree Australia are inconsistent, as teams with limited quality in their playing stocks are, but I don’t think that simply because they played well against the All Blacks they are therefore likely to lose to the NH sides even if it has happened before.

              I would say that the Wallabies pack is better in a more rounded and developed way this year (when it’s big men are fit i.e. in the last match and against Wales). It relies on an ‘axis of power’ in the form of TPN, Palu and Timani supporting the excellence of the likes of Hooper, Sharpe, Higginbotham and between all of those it is multi-faceted with a range of weapons. So the performance wasn’t I believe a one-off over-performance but indicative of a real and consistent quality.

              • November 8th 2012 @ 2:03pm
                Hurl said | November 8th 2012 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

                KPM, while you and many others talk about the Wallaby’s, and indeed the Bok’s being inconsistent, you must say the same of the All Blacks as well. A good game against the Irish, then a poor game. The same with the two games against the Boks, and indeed against Australia.

                So to say that the performance in the Bledisloe draw wasn’t a one-off over-performance but indicative of a real and consistent improvement in quality is really a stretch ?? Bedides, an improvement on what ? Surely not the last time the ALL Blacks and Wallabys played in brisbane??

                A draw against The All Blacks doesn’t indicate any extent of improvement, merely the range in performance standards by both teams. Your hybrid 3rd/2nd/1st XV is not necessarily an improvement on the previous 1st XV, but merely a gauge that shows us that the top of the Wallaby performance range is roughly on a level with the bottom of the All Black performance range

              • November 8th 2012 @ 4:47pm
                rae1 said | November 8th 2012 @ 4:47pm | ! Report

                Agreed Hurl. It seems the more time passes, the more convenient it is to forget about the poor quality of play in the 18-18 game. To use this game to qualify overly ambitious predictions of success in upcoming games or as a reason to be indignant about what people-of-note might say or write is, as you say Hurl, a bit of a stretch . “You’re only as good as your last game’, really? Both teams were horrible. It was a gutsy effort by the WBs, but ball skills and handling, and decision making, at times were woeful. As for the ABs, they played one of their worst games of the season- with the 2nd Irish test (coupled with credit to Ireland) coming in a close second.

                I expect massive improvements from our ABs. Although ‘our’ results show no losses, our team have been annoyingly inconsistent and inaccurate. Scary signs Mr Foster.

                I’m genuinely hopeful for the WBs. Their confidence has grown, they appear to be jelling more, the toxins have been removed and the team culture seems to be returning to one of respect for: their jersey (and the traditions and history it embodies); to their organisation and management; to each other; and to their supporters. The current culture is encouraging for players and supporters alike, but it has yet to transfer to the field in the form of a confident, fluid, seemless, winning team who are maximising their collective and individual skills and talents. Hopefully it will come together for them as I’d like to see the 3N win all their games. It’d be a bonus if the Argentines can do the same.

                Saying Team A can beat Team B is very different to saying Team A will beat Team B. Any NH team can beat any SH team on the respective tours. Thing is, will they?

            • Roar Guru

              November 8th 2012 @ 9:35am
              Poth Ale said | November 8th 2012 @ 9:35am | ! Report

              The Wallabies losses are more likely to occur and recur because they have lost the invincibility that NZ possess. And they’re unlikely to ever get it back – unless they go on a 15-20 game winning streak sometime over the next few years.

              I don’t think teams such as Ireland and England seem to be daunted about facing Australia (in contrast to NZ), and I think similarly against SA.

              They remain tough opponents, but ones that some NH teams have a strong belief they can beat.

              NZ are the only superpower team – as this year’s result have shown so far.

              • November 8th 2012 @ 11:02am
                kingplaymaker said | November 8th 2012 @ 11:02am | ! Report

                ??? They haven’t had invincibility for years.

                If they improve they will be harder and harder to beat and the pack at least are much better than they were. What makes them vulnerable now would be mass injuries, not the team.

      • November 8th 2012 @ 9:41am
        Dsat24 said | November 8th 2012 @ 9:41am | ! Report

        “That backline is 50 times more dangerous in attack than the current one and would run riot”
        jees thats just fantasy stuff, surely if you were back on the meds and actually watched the Wallabies this year or for that matter any time recently you wouldnt say that…

      • Roar Guru

        November 8th 2012 @ 11:21am
        Mantis said | November 8th 2012 @ 11:21am | ! Report

        My backline would be Genia, Lealiifano, Ioane, JOC, McCabe, Tomane, Beale.

    • November 8th 2012 @ 3:10am
      Billy Bob said | November 8th 2012 @ 3:10am | ! Report

      Hey HardData (sic) what are you doing in Johnno’s spot?
      Have you tied him up?

      Nice history Spiro.
      I also love these northern tours, and this article explains why they are a favourite of our rugby culture.

    • November 8th 2012 @ 3:17am
      Billy Bob said | November 8th 2012 @ 3:17am | ! Report

      KPM fifty times more potent?
      Don’t hold back son. You really have a problem with understatement today…er, tonight.
      Your promotion of the ‘ideal’ team icould be interpreted as insult to the players going up against France in 3 more sleeps.

      Personally I’m looking forward to seeing Tapuai and Douglas deal with the challenge.

      • November 8th 2012 @ 4:33am
        kingplaymaker said | November 8th 2012 @ 4:33am | ! Report

        Billy Bob the players who turned out against New Zealand were committed, solid, strong, good but not extraordinary or attacking dynamite in the way that some of the injured players are (except Beale).

        A whole 7 players in the backline with great attacking potency on the back of a destructive forward showing, and you have something another level up again from the Bledisloe match.

        • November 8th 2012 @ 5:01am
          Billy Bob said | November 8th 2012 @ 5:01am | ! Report

          KPM, no-one would argue about the backline talent on the injured list. But we have a game in 3 days without the ‘supreme ‘potency’ that you have highlighted.
          We may as well discuss what we would’ve done with the billion buck FTA package that the NRL got. It doesn’t matter because we didn’t get it. For now we have to do our best with what we do have. And a couple of weeks ago our reserve grade backline was almost enough.
          I’m one hoping that this game and the three following show that we have cover in every position.
          It might result in a confidence to allow player resting, one of the factors mentioned as a cause of the high injury toll.

          • November 8th 2012 @ 5:07am
            kingplaymaker said | November 8th 2012 @ 5:07am | ! Report

            True Billy Bob. It is hard to say how the French will play but I think the Wallabies will need to keep their motivation up as there’s probably something of a come down after playing the All Blacks.

            If they play I would be keen to see how Kepu and Mitchell play after a while out.

        • Roar Guru

          November 8th 2012 @ 7:16am
          Hoy said | November 8th 2012 @ 7:16am | ! Report

          KPM, most of those attackingly potent players have been available and lost to the All Blacks before.

          I admit scoring tries has been our issue for some time now, but I am not sure putting players like Tomane, Lealifano or Ioane in instead of Taps in the centres is going to benefit the team. Taps has been the form centre in Australia for two years, and he is a genuine centre. Not a player playing centre.

          I actually don’t mind the centres playing now, but I would switch them around.

          • November 8th 2012 @ 7:27am
            kingplaymaker said | November 8th 2012 @ 7:27am | ! Report

            Hoy there’s a difference to having one excellent player in a backline that loses, and 7 playing at once. Australia hasn’t yet put an attacking unit of the quality I suggested on the field, not for many years in fact.

            I replied to Justin regarding Tapuai above.

            • November 8th 2012 @ 7:33am
              Justin2 said | November 8th 2012 @ 7:33am | ! Report

              Be nice if they back line and team had some moves and strategies to score tries too.

              • November 8th 2012 @ 7:44am
                kingplaymaker said | November 8th 2012 @ 7:44am | ! Report

                You need more good attacking players for the strategies and moves to get anywhere. Industrious and committed as they are, Harries, Cummins and Mccabe are not JOC, Ioane and Tomane.

            • Roar Guru

              November 8th 2012 @ 7:51am
              Hoy said | November 8th 2012 @ 7:51am | ! Report

              KPM, many times over the last two or three years the Australian backline has been:


              Now that backline is missing a consistent starter at 12 and 13, but has most of the players you have spoken about above, and as I said, have been available and lost to the All Blacks often before.

              A few more than one excellent player in a backline that loses don’t you think? I agree the centres are an issue, but if you swap who we have now, that would be worth a look I think.

              Taps has runs on the board. Not percieved potential like your suggestions. If Lealifano can put together a good season, he might be an option, but to put either of him or Tomane above Taps, who for two years has been our best centre, is silly I think.

              • November 8th 2012 @ 7:58am
                kingplaymaker said | November 8th 2012 @ 7:58am | ! Report

                Hoy, true, but the pack has improved a lot this year with the arrival of Timani, and Palu and TPN finally being fit, Kepu advancing, Douglas doing well, and Hooper too. In the past the forwards would be walloped but the backs would sometimes win the match. Now the pack is looking much better, at least while the players mentioned are fit, but the backline is all injured, so the combined quality of the best pack and best backline isn’t available to be seen.

                Both Lealiifano and Tomane seem to me far better attacking players than Tapuai, who although fine is nothing remarkable. A decent player certainly, but not special.

              • November 8th 2012 @ 9:30am
                Riccardo said | November 8th 2012 @ 9:30am | ! Report

                Gidday KPM,

                You been on holiday?

                No argument with the improving Wallaby pack although you should probably give Blades some credit for this too.

                Disagree wtih your assessment of Tapuai. While his international career is in it’s infancy he looks to have the sort of complete game required for O/C, a difficult position. Given your dislike of the Conrad, perhaps you’re underestimating what is required of the player wearing the 13 jersey.

                I think Genia, Leiliafano, Ioane, McCabe, Taps, JOC, Beale with White, AAC and Cooper on the bench is pretty potent with the pack holding it’s own. That will ne next year though…

              • November 8th 2012 @ 11:05am
                kingplaymaker said | November 8th 2012 @ 11:05am | ! Report

                Yes Riccardo, Japan a long way from any rugby (although I’m sure a lot goes on there).
                The list of backline players does look good, but it would be nice if there were some new players emerging soon. At one point, Beale, Genia, Cooper and JOC appeared and more are due by now. Hopefully not more playmaker types though, but some big centres for example.

              • Roar Guru

                November 8th 2012 @ 11:24am
                Mantis said | November 8th 2012 @ 11:24am | ! Report

                Back to this old chestnut Hoy.

                Got any others on the ‘Patty McCabe to 13’ bandwagon yet? With a full year of Lealiifano at 12 and McCabe at 13 for the Brumbies, I could see this being our first choice centre pairing.

    • November 8th 2012 @ 3:48am
      The Link said | November 8th 2012 @ 3:48am | ! Report

      Pepsi and Coke!!!!

      Now I’ve heard it all from Rugby types.

      Pepsi comes kinda close to Cokes worldwide size and reach. Rugby is not in the same stratosphere as football for worldwide size and reach.

      Rugby has a good international nieche, no need for this constant chest beating from its fans and journalists.

      • November 8th 2012 @ 6:53am
        MV Dave said | November 8th 2012 @ 6:53am | ! Report

        Yeh not sure why a Football comparison had to be made because in all areas Football is light years ahead of Rugby and that distance is widening.

        • November 8th 2012 @ 7:55am
          nickoldschool said | November 8th 2012 @ 7:55am | ! Report

          Its called a big complex of inferiority guys. In spiro’s mind, everything/everyone that isnt ‘austrayan’ isnt worth much, especially if they belong to good old Europe.

          European rugby? awful “Scotland have played negative, spoiling rugby for decades”
          French refs? the worst! “The referee is an inexperienced French official, Jerome Garces who gave an appalling whistle-happy performance in a recent European club match by handing out 27 penalties (shades of Alain Rolland!).” btw take that you Irish!
          English/NH based journos? biased and arrogant. Some even dare to say that “France can definitely beat Australia.’ or that England or Wales, who matched the wallabies on home soil, could win against the wallabies!

          So the football/pepsi-coke comparison was just another way to have a go. Am sure spiro is definitely appealing to current affair programs viewers who love the ‘name and shame’ stuff.

          • November 8th 2012 @ 9:31am
            Rugby Diehard said | November 8th 2012 @ 9:31am | ! Report

            Nickoldschool – So Spiro is ‘austrayan’ now is he?!?!!

            • November 8th 2012 @ 9:47am
              nickoldschool said | November 8th 2012 @ 9:47am | ! Report

              Where did I say that? I said he bags everything that’s isn’t Australian especially if it comes from Europe regarding rugby.

              Plus you dont need to be born in a country to become biased and have blinkers on.

        • November 8th 2012 @ 5:35pm
          Lorry said | November 8th 2012 @ 5:35pm | ! Report

          MV Dave

          the distance between rugby and football is widening?!

          What are you on about? Football’s always been big everywhere!

          Rugby is the one growing fast! In Italy, France, Argentina, Madagascar, Russia, Georgia, other parts of Africa the game is growing!

          Football is already established in all those countries and can’t grow any more. In fact, in Italy, France, Argentina, and Russia rugby is growing at the expense of football

          • November 9th 2012 @ 6:40am
            MV Dave said | November 9th 2012 @ 6:40am | ! Report

            A recent report on TV monies spent in Europe on televising sport found that 80% was spent on Football…next was F1. Record tv deals and sponsorships are being signed every few years and spectator numbers continue to grow around the world…yep the gap is widening and Basketball is the next biggest sport around the world.

        • November 8th 2012 @ 7:26pm
          joe b said | November 8th 2012 @ 7:26pm | ! Report

          “…that distance is widening”. Soccer is already widely played throughout the world, and I suspect basketball might give rugby a run for it’s money as to which might be the next biggest sport, but the reality is a lot of people find it dull and too simple and will never have an interest in the game. A round ball, no use of hands, and the offside rule….simple and boring. Rugby will continue to grow….and hopefully aussie rules will aswell.

          • November 9th 2012 @ 6:43am
            MV Dave said | November 9th 2012 @ 6:43am | ! Report

            A lot more people around the world find Rugby boring and dull whilst AFL shouldn’t even be mention when talking world sports.

      • November 8th 2012 @ 9:25am
        Bob Anderson said | November 8th 2012 @ 9:25am | ! Report

        Coke actually tastes better than Pepsi, while rugby is far superior to soccer. Perhaps a better example is Heineken vs. Budweiser.

    • November 8th 2012 @ 4:06am
      Ben.S said | November 8th 2012 @ 4:06am | ! Report

      Same old stuff… Weaker than seven consecutive days…

      Firstly, the UK media rarely writes off SH sides. Anybody who actually reads the NH media would know this. Secondly, the only support for this poorly edited headline is a collection of throwaway comments, none of which are hyperbolic or, going on the poor season the Wallabies have had, particularly unrealistic. Thirdly, the article is typically selective: if people should remember the drubbing the French received then then they should also remember the drubbing the Wallabies received at Twickenham, their home losses to England and Scotland, and then the most recent loss to Ireland. Australia are not in a great place, but whether the NH sides have enough to beat them is yet to be seen. Lastly, just because the French are erratic, which in itself is an especially out of date cliche, this shouldn’t prevent a professional rugby journalist from offering even a basic analysis of the French players. Given that rugby is a minority sport in Australia it is pretty lax (and pretty consistent), bordering on negligent, to take this stance.

      P.S. Scotland haven’t played negative spoiling rugby for decades. Watch some rugby. Is it any wonder rugby is struggling in Australia with this sort of coverage?

      • November 8th 2012 @ 4:11am
        Partyhat said | November 8th 2012 @ 4:11am | ! Report


      • November 8th 2012 @ 4:48am
        Billy Bob said | November 8th 2012 @ 4:48am | ! Report

        Ben, you have come up with a refreshing new analysis of why OZ rugby is in strife! It’s Spiro’s fault!
        Don’t be so touchy. He’s writing to an audience. As are your NH writers.
        For all his faults, I don’t think he can be blamed for the flat spot OZ rugby has been traveling through.

        • Roar Guru

          November 8th 2012 @ 6:37am
          Poth Ale said | November 8th 2012 @ 6:37am | ! Report

          Odd thing. The headline of the article is different to the tag headline:

          “Northern Hemisphere underestimate Wallabies at their peril” – a sentiment I entirely agree with.

        • November 8th 2012 @ 8:18am
          Ben.S said | November 8th 2012 @ 8:18am | ! Report

          Obviously I’m not blaming him for a countrywide slump or whatever, but this sort of ill-informed partisan dross is simply wearisome and further it’s totally at odds with the spirit of the game. It’s antiquated and unnecessary. Conversely, by and large NH writers are far more critical of their sides than Zavos, Hinton, Paul, Lord etc. For me personally I’m looking forward to seeing players like Cane and Hooper on tour. I’m sure Australians in my position are intrigued by players like Marler or Dulin and would rather read about them than yet another copy and paste rant?

          • November 8th 2012 @ 8:30am
            Stop Kicking said | November 8th 2012 @ 8:30am | ! Report

            partisan, wearisome, antiquated, conversely. I think someone has word of the day toilet paper hahahah

            • November 8th 2012 @ 9:21am
              Ben.S said | November 8th 2012 @ 9:21am | ! Report

              Guilty as charged. Get a lot of fibre in my diet too…

      • November 8th 2012 @ 4:48am
        Billy Bob said | November 8th 2012 @ 4:48am | ! Report

      • November 8th 2012 @ 5:00am
        jus de couchon said | November 8th 2012 @ 5:00am | ! Report

        Scotish rugby is good as you say. Its positive and doesnt resort to the boring tactics of England rugbies win at all costs even if its boring philosophy.

      • Roar Guru

        November 8th 2012 @ 1:13pm
        Jiggles said | November 8th 2012 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

        Tend to agree, Ben. he even chucked in the ‘Springboks are good scrummagers’ cliche. The Springboks have the worst scrum in the SH. Some may excuse Spiro for not knowing anything about northern hemisphere rugby but seriously the Springboks are in his own backyard and yet he knows nothing about them!

        I really just saw this article as listing excuses before a ball was kicked, and I really think there is nothing outrageous in what those commentators have said about Australia’s chances. The fact is that all 4 games are going to be tough. France can play rugby, we have all seen that. They have a team with a great bunch of forwards and some good halves.

        I am never ever confident about facing England at Twickenham. regardless of the form England are in, they always know how to play against Australia and really get under their skin. I have also been impressed with Lancaster and how he is building their squad. Why was Corbisiero released? In saying that Marler is going to be interesting to watch. Such a young prop, so they must see something in them.

        Just on Scotland, I went through their squad the other day and I actually think its the strongest they’ve pulled together in years, 10 years at least. I am interested to see how they go.

        • November 8th 2012 @ 1:50pm
          steve.h said | November 8th 2012 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

          Well the springbok scrum had the upper hand on the All Blacks in both matches, got taken apart by the Wallabies and was even against the Argentina. I think you developing a new cliche about how bad the Springbok scrum is. The Wallabies have one of the best technical scrummaging teams in the world but lack a bit of power in other area’s of the game.

          • Roar Guru

            November 8th 2012 @ 2:35pm
            Jiggles said | November 8th 2012 @ 2:35pm | ! Report

            “The Wallabies have one of the best technical scrummaging teams”

            Jesus I never thought I’d hear that, and don’t think its true either. The Boks have been average to poor for a number of years now. Mtawarira and to a lesser extent du Plessis are dynamic enough around the park but they are technically poor scrummagers. However they are still an improvement on Smit when he used to pack down at 3. Franks is adjusting to life without Thorn and suddenly things are a lot harder when you dont have that engine behind you. I rate Frank’s technique so I think Cotter will have their scrum fixed by next season.

        • November 8th 2012 @ 10:50pm
          Colin N said | November 8th 2012 @ 10:50pm | ! Report

          Corbisiero has been out all season and hasn’t played, so that’s why he was released. Huge fan of Marler. There were some good bits from him in the summer – he didn’t carry much, but he was excellent at the breakdown.

          His scrummaging was okay, but it’s an area which improved immensely over the 2011/12 season.

          • Roar Guru

            November 9th 2012 @ 5:56pm
            Jiggles said | November 9th 2012 @ 5:56pm | ! Report

            Cheers Colin.

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