Northern drubbings give Deans, Hansen plenty to stew on

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    Steve Hansen wouldn't put up with accusations that his side are dirty, but a high shot is a high shot. AAP Images

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    It is a slightly cheeky exercise but add together the two standout performances from the Spring tours and you end up with a total of Northern Hemisphere heavyweights 71, Southern Hemisphere 24.

    The two outstanding displays of the campaign came from those clad in the blue of France and white of England. It has not turned the rugby world on its head, but the axis has been tilted somewhat.

    Those pair of hidings – and let’s call them what they were and dispense with the excuses – will add some real focus to the reviews the Wallabies and All Blacks conduct over the coming months before they resume again in 2013.

    There will be concern in both camps that failure to subdue the power forward games of the Six Nations favourites exposed some defensive frailties as the matches went on.

    A lack of cutting edge and some players heading towards at their sell-by dates are separate issues that will tax Deans and Hansen respectively.

    The most impressive thing about the English victory against the All Blacks was the age of the squad. This England team will have plenty of stumbles ahead but with an average age of just 24 they are not at their peak. It is no coincidence.

    After getting the job their thorough head coach, Stuart Lancaster, presented a three-year plan that outlined exactly how many caps the England team would have by the 2015 World Cup, identifying options in each position.

    Four-fifths of the tight five at Twickenham were 25 or under. The oldest man in the team, second-rower Geoff Parling, will only be 32 by the time 2015 comes around.

    They will not lose anyone from last weekend’s match to the twin enemies of physical deterioration or sated mental desire by the time they face the Wallabies in the the group stage in 2015.

    It will not be the case in New Zealand. Take a look at their 30 or over club and names such as Dan Carter, Richie McCaw, Ma’a Nonu, Conrad Smith, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock, and Keven Mealamu appear.

    There is no way all of that group can make it until 2015 and the ones that do will run the risk of it being at a tournament too far.

    The All Blacks have done a very good job of introducing new players into their squad this year, but some painful culling of some decorated warriors is coming in the next few years.

    They are keenly aware of it of course, already dipping into the 2011 Under-20s this year. There might be some more rapid elevations in 2013 from that junior world championship squad, especially at hooker, number six and second row, with events in London giving succession planning a sharp kick along.

    It is why that under-20s competition has become such a vital component in the total national rugby program.

    It will not surprise to hear that England were the side the young New Zealanders beat in the 2011 final. Both nations have paid attention to planning.

    Australian challenges are of a different nature. They have plenty of youth but are they on the right course?

    The talk all year has been of injuries but you would suspect the management group are too savvy to let that be overused as a reason for the uninspiring attack.

    On occasions the side was indisputably ravaged with casualties but over the Test campaigns as whole Will Genia played just two fewer Tests than Dan Carter. Nor was the side that beat Wales at the weekend so depleted.

    In fact, compared to the starting side that scored three tries to beat a stronger Wales side in December 2011, it included Wycliff Palu, Kurtley Beale, Nick Cummins, Nathan Sharpe and Ben Alexander in exchange for Ben McCalman, James O’Connor, Lachie Turner, Rob Simmons and Salesi Ma’afu.

    Instead, inquiries will be posed as to why the smart coaching to outwit England – finding room in behind the defence in a way the All Blacks did not – was not in evidence more frequently.

    Over the year there was clever stuff among the disappointing, but not enough of it.

    Amazingly, in eight hours of Test rugby against the world’s four top-ranked sides in 2012 only one back, Mike Harris, managed a try – a consolation effort against the Springboks in Pretoria.

    Chuck in another four hours of back-line drought at the World Cup against Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand and you have an issue – a significant one – that will be taxing the strategists.

    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 (202)

    • December 6th 2012 @ 2:49am
      ben said | December 6th 2012 @ 2:49am | ! Report

      There is a serious issue with the Wallabies not keeping the ball in hand……the entire welsh game they kicked away possession.Finally at the bell they keep it in hand and score. Even the English now keep the ball in hand and look at the result. The Lions are going to come with their tails up. More importantly with a very good backline to go with their forwards.

      Hopefully the inclusion of JOC and perhaps quade will spark something……finally our forwards look the goods.

      • December 6th 2012 @ 5:56am
        mania said | December 6th 2012 @ 5:56am | ! Report

        is quade even playing for qld?

      • Roar Guru

        December 6th 2012 @ 10:20am
        Mantis said | December 6th 2012 @ 10:20am | ! Report

        JOC and hopefully Lealiifano (if he can keep up his form from last year) will turn this around. The experiment with McCabe at inside has to stop.

        • December 6th 2012 @ 2:55pm
          Chivas said | December 6th 2012 @ 2:55pm | ! Report

          It’s not really an experiment. I don’t disagree that he is too static. I also don’t think AAC at centre poses enough questions. They are very effective at containing the opposition and run hard and direct.

          Not enough… The problem is how to build a combination that is offensive, wide and rock solid in it’s defence with the flair to break open opposition defences. I like the idea of Tapuai at 13 and JOC at 12. But that too would be an experiment. IMO JOC is the only wallaby that when fit is a consistent menace to opposition defence.

          In speaking of the importance of JOC to bust open oppositions with his speed and ability to smoothly change direction at full pace, he can only do that once the defensive lines of the opposition have been confused.

          This year I actually saw improvements in this area. I like the Beale wrap around. It actually causes the defence to get slightly out of alignment. Unfortunately some poor handling and communication has stopped things in there tracks.

          Then you bring QC back into play and you have a real attacking backline… The only problem is kicking. The reason the Wallabies kick so much is there lack of a real wipers kick. As much as I think Campo is an airhead, I am not sure anyone in the current team has a boot like him or Israel Dagg. I haven’t seen kicks that go from the 22 deep into opposition halves by the wallabies for a long time.

          As I mention my concerns are strong destructive defence 1st with an attacking group of players and someone who can hoof the ball down the park accurately.

          I think Deans has been angling for Genia, QC, JOC, Tapuai, Beale for a while, but the problem is they are not all established consistent brilliant performers in their positions individually and certainly not collectively. For them to be ready by the time the Lions test draws around is a big ask, but maybe not an impossible one.

          • December 6th 2012 @ 3:57pm
            Mango Jack said | December 6th 2012 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

            Genia, QC, JOC, Tapuai, Beale . Presume you mean 9,10,12,13,15. Who do you have on the wings? Plenty of attacking flair individually, but 1) can they work together effectively and 2) can they defend well enough?

            • December 7th 2012 @ 9:36pm
              Chivas said | December 7th 2012 @ 9:36pm | ! Report

              I think the Wallabies have wings to burn…. but as to points 1 and 2, that is precisely the issue and I don’t think it will be there from day one…

          • December 6th 2012 @ 4:43pm
            Hightackle said | December 6th 2012 @ 4:43pm | ! Report

            AAC had an outstanding year.

            9) Genia
            10) Leleifano/Beale
            11) Ioane
            12) Tapuai
            13) AAC
            14) Mitchell/Cummins
            15) JOC

            • December 6th 2012 @ 4:45pm
              Hightackle said | December 6th 2012 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

              Q.Cooper should never be a Wallaby again.
              He is too much of a liability on and off the park.

              • Roar Guru

                December 6th 2012 @ 6:19pm
                jeznez said | December 6th 2012 @ 6:19pm | ! Report

                I’m happy he is back – reportedly announcing tomorrow with a 400K top up from the ARU to go with his 400K from QLD.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 6:40pm
                Hightackle said | December 6th 2012 @ 6:40pm | ! Report

                A lot of Aus opposition teams are glad hes back too Jeznez. NZ and a few other countries want him back in the Wallabies as soon as possible.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 8:08pm
                mark said | December 6th 2012 @ 8:08pm | ! Report

                can’t wait to see him back. who else is going to flick pass to nobody in order to take the pressure of them precious selves. instead of taking the ball into contact like a man? we’ve missed that this year.

              • December 7th 2012 @ 5:27am
                Justin2 said | December 7th 2012 @ 5:27am | ! Report

                We’ve missed tries more than mistakes 😉

              • December 7th 2012 @ 7:30am
                mark said | December 7th 2012 @ 7:30am | ! Report

                J2 i do not recall quade cooper creating a plethora of tries at the rwc…. hmmmm…

                i do recall him playing awful rugby for an international no 10.

              • December 7th 2012 @ 8:05am
                Justin2 said | December 7th 2012 @ 8:05am | ! Report

                You are right mark, he payed badly v SA and NZ at the WC.

                Are you to judge his career on those two efforts? If we did that there wouldnt be many players who were rated as good, nor coaches.

                Fact remains QLD and AUS have a better record when he plays and we score more tries when he plays.

              • December 7th 2012 @ 8:15am
                mark said | December 7th 2012 @ 8:15am | ! Report

                for the reds yes

                for the wallabies i don’t think so

                thats the difference between fairy floss super xv and test rugby. horse for courses.

              • December 7th 2012 @ 8:28am
                Justin2 said | December 7th 2012 @ 8:28am | ! Report

                mark you may not think so and thats all cool and the gang but the stats show that it is significant both for QLD and AUS.


              • December 7th 2012 @ 9:56am
                mark said | December 7th 2012 @ 9:56am | ! Report

                i wasn’t aware rugby was a one man show.

                it isn’t and it simply is proven by the fact that both larkham and lynagh are the most winningest no 10’s simply because they were in the best sides.

                if cooper, giteau or ella had’ve played in the early 90’s or the late 90’s- 2002 period they’d have had higher win ratios.

                fact is against the best (nz) he is not up to it. The two performances he made at eden park in 2011 were possibly the worst performances i’ve ever seen by a no 10 at test level. He is simply a very good club player with a bit of talent that has no right to be anywhere near test rugby. Sorry but he is far too selfish. He won’t tackle and he won’t go into contact when its the best option. He simply flick passes the pressure onto the nearest team mate ie he plays for himself and anyone that knows rugby knows that a no 10 needs to be a player that plays for those around him. Dan Carter is the epitome of selfless play and thats why he is the best. Our best technically is really Barnes at test level but due to his lack of dynamism we have to look for JOC or Beale or maybe even Lealiafano if he can repeat last years good form. Cooper needs to change his entire persona if his talent is to ever come to the fore-front of his play. I doubt it.

              • December 7th 2012 @ 11:29am
                Justin2 said | December 7th 2012 @ 11:29am | ! Report

                As always mark thanks for the laugh, thank goodness the season is over…

          • December 6th 2012 @ 9:38pm
            Malo said | December 6th 2012 @ 9:38pm | ! Report

            May look alright in attack but you forgot about defense. QC, JOC and Beale are very weak in defence. Bring in Folau and AAC is great in defence and attack.

      • December 6th 2012 @ 3:49pm
        Hightackle said | December 6th 2012 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

        In general the NH teams run the ball more and kick less.
        WHAT?! I hear you say.
        Yes, in the majority of the 4 nats vs 6 nats games on the NH tour, the NH teams ran the ball more often and kicked less.
        In the 6 nats this year, the ball was in play almost 20% longer than in the 4 nats on ave.
        Aust, Arg and Ital ave around 1 try per game.

      • December 7th 2012 @ 11:47am
        Dan said | December 7th 2012 @ 11:47am | ! Report

        “Even the English are now keeping the ball in hand and look at the result” – I really hate to keep doing this, but it has resulted in 1 great performance so far, and 2 very ordinary ones (how many tries did they score against the Springboks again?).

        • December 7th 2012 @ 11:54am
          mania said | December 7th 2012 @ 11:54am | ! Report

          didnt england take boks to the wire? score was 15-16 .
          agree its one performance, but the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. this could be the begining of another martinJohnston era.
          either way the english deserve respect and their day in the sun

      • Roar Rookie

        December 8th 2012 @ 3:35am
        Neuen said | December 8th 2012 @ 3:35am | ! Report

        Well you can’t really blame Australia for a dull game. I said it before and say it again. If a referee allows too much freedom at the breakdown he allows teams to slow the ball up and organize defenses. This geme the referee allowed players to do it. Have a look here



        and here

        • December 9th 2012 @ 10:05pm
          Mike said | December 9th 2012 @ 10:05pm | ! Report

          Good point.

    • December 6th 2012 @ 3:28am
      kingplaymaker said | December 6th 2012 @ 3:28am | ! Report

      The All Blacks chose a safety-first team of players last year, leaving out more talented individuals on the fringes in order that no one would make the mistake that would lose them the RWC. And it worked.

      However, there was still quality throughout the side and many players were still performing well.

      Hansen though has misunderstood that this was only a temporary measure.

      For him experience and age are all, even though this is not a special finals year. Safety is everything.

      Players such as Ranger and Fruean are damned as ‘unsafe’, when Nonu and Kaino were once in the same category. In the past such talented young players would be brought in as youths into the team where their flaws would be ironed out.

      Hansen is so entrapped in his safety-first mantra, so petrified of including anyone who might make a mistake, that in leaving out Ranger, Fruean and Taylor he is neglecting three of potentially best backline players in the world, perhaps one of the major mistakes in rugby selection in any country at the moment. Nor is Kerr-Barlow thought worth trying, because presumably it is ‘dangerous’.

      In the forwards the issue is more complicated. Here Hansen’s conservatism weighs less heavily, although the neglect of Matt Todd, who didn’t even receive a phone call when left out of the squad, is peculiar.

      However, the question has to be asked, why are there not more outstanding young forward candidates? Could it be that they are blocked by more senior players at the franchises? Or is it again that Hansen won’t plump for youth ahead of experience. Does Hansen even have a good eye for talent?

      As for Australia, there is daylight between the top tier of world class backs and their replacements. Compare JOC to Harris, or Ioane to Mccabe, or Genia to Phipps. For all his endeavour the Honey Badger is no Ioane. It’s strange, and may mean that Australia can only afford to bid for a small number of major young talents at teenage level.

      Compare the backline of the past tests with the following: Genia, Cooper, Ioane, Sautia, Folau, JOC, Beale. Quite soon this may be something near what will be on show, and then there shouldn’t be too much shortage of tries.

      I would say the best thing for Australia this year has been the improvement in the forwards. Fit muscle in the shape of Palu, TPN and Timani has allowed the pack to compete for the first time with large units, and while there are not many power players behind them, at least the front rank is good. The scrum and number 6 are the two remaining, admittedly large problems.

      On top of this forward pack the backline named above could run riot.

      But trouble looms. Nucifora has said that the franchises won’t be obliged to rest any players, despite this being much of the point of having a franchise instead of club system. So all these injuries will probably recur next year!!!!

      • December 6th 2012 @ 5:19am
        Ben.S said | December 6th 2012 @ 5:19am | ! Report

        Well that’s totally and typically revisionist. Fruean and Ranger aren’t even consistent Super players let alone worthwhile Test players ATM, and for all your repetitive anti-Conrad Smith hyperbole he clearly is one of the best players on the planet, so he’s not getting dropped. Nonu and Kaino went and worked on their games and became dominant forces. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Fruean and Ranger have done that, so why you keep chirping away about them is literally beyond sense. I suggest you look at when Kaino debuted as an AB and when he became a regular AB. His flaws certainly weren’t ironed out in the Test arena. And who is Taylor going to replace? Dagg, Savea/Gear or Jane… Yawn.

        You moan about Hansen being conservative, and then ignore the fact that he selected Sam Cane over Matt Tod. Totally contradictory from you.

        ‘However, the question has to be asked, why are there not more outstanding young forward candidates? Could it be that they are blocked by more senior players at the franchises? Or is it again that Hansen won’t plump for youth ahead of experience.’

        And this doesn’t even make sense. Do you not know which players play for what Super sides and how old they are or are you suggesting that there are players, whom you don’t refer to, that Hansen simply ignores? Clearly you’re not offering any alternatives.

        Why would anybody compare Ioane to McCabe? It’s like Comparing Savea to Nonu or North to Roberts or Clerc to Mermoz.

        • December 6th 2012 @ 7:33am
          Kane said | December 6th 2012 @ 7:33am | ! Report

          I agree, it seems the only person kpm has a hatred for more than Conrad is Hansen and the only person he loves more than Deans is Freuen. I’m somewhat baffeled.

          The All Blacks weren’t decimated by injuries yet they still debuted nine players whereas the Wallabies had far more injuries but only debuted 13. Seems like Hansen is looking more to the future as Deans is only debuting these players as he has to.

          Andre Taylor has a great super rugby season but hardley set the world on fire in the ITM cup, Matt Todd needs to add another dimension to his game at the moment hes not unlike Pocock.

          • December 6th 2012 @ 7:40am
            Justin2 said | December 6th 2012 @ 7:40am | ! Report

            He’s a poor mans Pocock.

            Kane what do you make of Taylors defence by the way? I have seen him miss a few in the last line. Whats the general consensus, is that a part of his game he needs to improve to get to Test level or have I just caught a few bad moments?

            • December 6th 2012 @ 8:17am
              Kane said | December 6th 2012 @ 8:17am | ! Report

              “He’s a poor mans Pocock.”

              That is true but I was comparing them as I see them both as a one trick pony. Pocock a breakdown specialist and Todd his specialty is being first to everything but he just doesn’t have the bulk to knock people around or the skill to make the pilfers. If he can ad this with a bit of niggle as well he would definitely be getting a call from Hansen

              Taylor? I can’t remember him missing tackles in the last line but I do recall a few instances of him getting sold a dummy. He needs to learn to fake that hes bought the dummy and that would help him immensely.

              I just think he relies on Conrad and Jane positionally to much and without them he wasn’t in the right place at the right time to create the magic like he did in Super rugby.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 10:43am
                Handles said | December 6th 2012 @ 10:43am | ! Report

                I am not going to pretend that Pocock has an all round game, but one-trick pony is very harsh. He is arguably the best tackling forward on the planet. At one stage I saw the stats for tackling on the 2010 Spring tour, and Pocock was 100%. Next best tackler had about 20 less tackles and was in the mid 90s, most of the team below 90. Quade in the 60s.

                I think he generally is a better scrum contributor than Hooper or Gill, and reads the game as well as anyone except possibly McCaw. I would say the only thing he comes up short with is a running game, including that ability to link forwards and backs.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 10:48am
                mania said | December 6th 2012 @ 10:48am | ! Report

                handles – pocock is a one trick pony, but when that one trick is being an awesome tackler then he has a head start on the majority of players out there. getting a 100% tackling stat is more important than scoring tries.
                as they say “Offense sells tickets; Defense wins championships”
                pocock imo is shaping up to be a decent captain as well

              • December 6th 2012 @ 11:13am
                Handles said | December 6th 2012 @ 11:13am | ! Report

                I think the one trick being referred to was breakdown turnover specialist. So tackling better than anyone else was his second trick.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 4:32pm
                RebelRanger said | December 6th 2012 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

                @Handles: ‘best tackling forward on the planet’.. *uses Wallaby only stats*. Australian supporter logic.

            • December 6th 2012 @ 9:19am
              Hurl said | December 6th 2012 @ 9:19am | ! Report

              It’s his option taking on attack that needs to improve. Running away from support, or not using support players. Thats the word from Grant Fox anyway

              • December 6th 2012 @ 3:05pm
                Chivas said | December 6th 2012 @ 3:05pm | ! Report

                That’s precisely his weakness… He offers little on attack… The ideal would be a merge of Hooper and Pocock…. Then you’d have superman or Richie Macaw on steroids.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 4:52pm
                Hightackle said | December 6th 2012 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

                People always say he is a one trick pony but what they should say is that he is missing 1 trick. He is a good leader, an excellent defender, one of the best pilfer exponents, a great reader of the game, good on the pick n go, very good at slowing opposition ball but he lacks as a ball carrier.
                Hooper imo is a better all round player and is prolly 1 of the best 7s in world rugby.

              • Roar Guru

                December 6th 2012 @ 8:50pm
                Kane said | December 6th 2012 @ 8:50pm | ! Report

                From watching the Force play and his leadership in the tests, great doesn’t come to mind. He didn’t exactly read the game very well, against Scotland

          • December 6th 2012 @ 7:59am
            Ryan said | December 6th 2012 @ 7:59am | ! Report

            In Andres defence during the ITM cup he spent half of it out injured with a hand and then hamstring injury.
            But I agree I don’t think he is ready for test match rugby just yet.
            On a side note Taylor has resigned with Taranaki for another two years which is a good thing for the Naki.

          • December 6th 2012 @ 8:21am
            Allanthus said | December 6th 2012 @ 8:21am | ! Report

            KPM, Ranger and Fruean aren’t deemed “unsafe”, they have simply been deemed not quite good enough which, from where I sit, seems about right.

            Taylor is a different story, obvious talent, 2013 is an important year for him and if he is good enough, has the right attitude, and stays injury free, he can make the AB’s.

            Your comment on Kerr-Barlow doesn’t make sense, he is in the squad, and currently ranked 3. You might have him higher but that’s just your opinion. Hansen went for Smith, which was fair enough, he’s been excellent on front foot ball but not so resilient when the forwards haven’t dominated the breakdown – which I suspect goes for any halfback. Weepu improved his fitness and played very well this season, imo justifying No 2 ranking. But he won’t be there forever and if Kerr-Barlow is good enough he will get his chance.

            That’s assuming also that Perenara doesn’t leapfrog them all – and there are plenty who think he will. But I’m assuming that you should be ok with that because he is a young, risky type, similar to Kerr-Barlow?

            NZ is very lucky to have this depth, Ellis is still a quality player. Phipps wouldn’t even come close to getting a start in any of the Super Rugby teams.

            • December 6th 2012 @ 8:33am
              kingplaymaker said | December 6th 2012 @ 8:33am | ! Report

              Alanthus the four mentioned seem to me the most talented in their positions in the country under the age of 30, except Taylor who is no better than Dagg but could play elsewhere in the back three.

              Sure Nonu and Smith were wonderful in their day but that day is past. The new generation though are not being brought on.

              Instead players like Ellison and B.Smith play because of ‘safety’. But the midfield they formed was the worst in the All Blacks’ history.

              Until Hansen starts to choose talent boldly instead of playing it safe he will still be relying on the golden oldies.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 8:40am
                Jerry said | December 6th 2012 @ 8:40am | ! Report

                “But the midfield they formed was the worst in the All Blacks’ history.”

                Good to see you’re not getting carried away with the hyperbole, KPM.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 8:46am
                kingplaymaker said | December 6th 2012 @ 8:46am | ! Report

                Surely Jerry there’s something in quality between Nonu/C.Smith and Ellison/B.Smith.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 8:51am
                mania said | December 6th 2012 @ 8:51am | ! Report

                KPM – worse midfield combos AB’s have had would be any with leonMcDonald or calebRalph in it

              • December 6th 2012 @ 9:05am
                kingplaymaker said | December 6th 2012 @ 9:05am | ! Report

                mania Benson Stanley wasn’t the greatest, but played in combination with excellent partners in the midfield.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 9:08am
                Jerry said | December 6th 2012 @ 9:08am | ! Report

                Ralph/Mayerhofler for a start.

                Look, no one is saying Smith/Ellison is a great midfield combo, but they’re a long way from being ‘the worst ever’. Smith is actually a pretty talented player and has that (Conrad Smith/Cory Jane like) knack for making the right play at the right time pretty consistently.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 9:09am
                mania said | December 6th 2012 @ 9:09am | ! Report

                kpm – i rate Benson Stanley highly. for little guy he was solid on defence and had a good rugby brain often making good get of jail decisions for the blues. i’d rate him a much better centre than either ralph or mcdonald.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 9:17am
                kingplaymaker said | December 6th 2012 @ 9:17am | ! Report

                I think Ben Smith is chosen because his game is similar to Conrad Smith’s and Jane’s. The problem is he is a far worse version, a delta rather than beta version.

                I’m not sure where they’re going with Ellison. He’s 29 and Smith is 26. Given that they are not world-beaters, it might be better trying some younger new players than them.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 9:19am
                mania said | December 6th 2012 @ 9:19am | ! Report

                careful kpm – u might accidentally say something good about conrad

              • December 6th 2012 @ 9:23am
                kingplaymaker said | December 6th 2012 @ 9:23am | ! Report

                mania my position on Conrad Smith is more complex than it seems.

                I think he was a wonderful, subtle, sly, centre until last year. At his peak he was the best in the world in his position.

                But then he suddenly lost his old attacking slipperiness and ability to slide through holes and speed into gaps. He has many other skills as well, but these were key ones. It’s understandable that he declined at the age of 30.

                So this year and last he has been a shadow of his former shelf. Similar looking to the outside, but without the relentlessly menacing attacking threat he posed for so long.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 9:31am
                mania said | December 6th 2012 @ 9:31am | ! Report

                thats an almost complement. fair nuff KPM each to their own. i would like to point out tho that conrad has evolved. sure he’s not making line breaks as often any more but he’s still got a huge work load and is still contributing a hell of a lot to the AB’s collective.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 9:33am
                Jerry said | December 6th 2012 @ 9:33am | ! Report

                I can only conclude you’ve not actually been watching Conrad Smith play this year, KPM.

                As far as Ben Smith, he’s a useful utility at this point and has been generally impressive this year. Not a world beater and not a starting option at present, though has shown some promise that he could develop into that role in future.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 10:51am
                Justin2 said | December 6th 2012 @ 10:51am | ! Report

                Jerry – that would be a surprise after all FSautia is going to be a Wallaby legend and KPM has seen 5min of him. Mind you he made that judgement prior to even seeing him play…

              • December 6th 2012 @ 10:56am
                kingplaymaker said | December 6th 2012 @ 10:56am | ! Report

                Untrue Justin, but hopefully he will prove you wrong.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 1:37pm
                Justin2 said | December 6th 2012 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

                Sure KPM, you didnt even know what position he played yet were raving about him because of something you had read being the most capped schoolboy of all time!

              • December 6th 2012 @ 3:10pm
                Chivas said | December 6th 2012 @ 3:10pm | ! Report

                Harsh Mania. Caleb Ralph I agree with, no-one knew why he was ever picked, but Leon Mandonald was pretty talented. He certainly didn’t weaken a side… Admittedly he wasn’t a centre or great first five, but at fullback I liked him. He just ended up with too many head knocks.

              • December 7th 2012 @ 5:28am
                mania said | December 7th 2012 @ 5:28am | ! Report

                chivas – two words chrsitian cullen

              • December 7th 2012 @ 8:06am
                Justin2 said | December 7th 2012 @ 8:06am | ! Report

                mania, one word – legend!

              • December 7th 2012 @ 8:10am
                mania said | December 7th 2012 @ 8:10am | ! Report

                justin2- if your looking for an argument you are sooooo looking in the wrong place. i almost named my first boy cullen but one of the cuzzy’s beat me to it.

        • December 6th 2012 @ 7:46am
          On or said | December 6th 2012 @ 7:46am | ! Report

          Hansen can still get one or two years out of the old boys… And Drip feed the next generation of talent!! This seems to be the idea !!! Nothing wrong with it!!

        • December 6th 2012 @ 3:59pm
          Hightackle said | December 6th 2012 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

          G.Henry was conservative, Hansen is not.
          He is a perfect balance imo. Whilst selecting TKB and A.Smith over incumbants, he has also kept Weepu in the mix. Same with Rettalick, Romano and Ali.
          He selected SBW over Nonu and Messam over Thompson or Vito.
          He is progressive but doing it in the right way.

          I was pro SBW over C.Smith last year but this year C.Smith has been our best back on ave. His rushing out of the line at Tuilagi was the only howler of an otherwise stellar year. He is our best 13 along with Ellison.

          • December 6th 2012 @ 6:55pm
            Red Kev said | December 6th 2012 @ 6:55pm | ! Report

            Henry was not conservative according to McCaw – and he’d know.

            • December 6th 2012 @ 7:54pm
              Hightackle said | December 6th 2012 @ 7:54pm | ! Report

              McCaw said “Henry is not a conservative”
              Henry was reluctant to play Thorn, SBW, Nonu and Dagg.
              He was reluctant to drop Rocakoko, Sivi, Mils and many others.
              He was conservative. He was forever dismissing form in super rugby for incumbant players and chose experience over talent many times including the WC where he selected the oldest NZ team ever. Thats conservative.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 9:32pm
                On or said | December 6th 2012 @ 9:32pm | ! Report

                Lets get it right!! Henry put his mates first!!! Kelston boys high… Mills muliaina ?? Anyone remember him??? It was almost for a while there u had to be from Auckland to get a shot!!! It took forever for dagg to get a shot!!! And he held him back for a long time!! A good mix of youth and experience seems to be on the cards!!

        • December 6th 2012 @ 4:04pm
          Mango Jack said | December 6th 2012 @ 4:04pm | ! Report

          Good question. One can jink and step, but drops the ball a bit and is only an adequate defender. The other runs straight and hard, very rarely makes a mistake and tackles like a Mack truck.

      • December 6th 2012 @ 7:24am
        Darwin Stubbie said | December 6th 2012 @ 7:24am | ! Report

        Wow – so many holes and fabrications in this opinion stated as fact about Hansen and what he supposedly thinks

        I’m just thankful you know even less about NZ rugby and it systems than you’ve gleaned from the Internet about Aust rugby – so kiwis aren’t endlessly subjected to your constant 101 level analysis

        • December 6th 2012 @ 8:21am
          kingplaymaker said | December 6th 2012 @ 8:21am | ! Report

          It’s not an attack on New Zealand DS: not every slightly critical aspect written about an element of New Zealand rugby is an ‘attack’. You don’t need to ride to the rescue to defend it because it’s not being attacked.

          • December 6th 2012 @ 8:52am
            Team Taniwha said | December 6th 2012 @ 8:52am | ! Report

            Ranger is 25 or 26. Fruen is younger. They have time to prove that can make consistent contributions. With Fruen, there are questions about his work rate. He might make one big run, but than goes missing – his heart condition has had an affect on his aerobic conditioning.

            As a fellow Northlander, I would love Ranger to get on top of his game, hopefully Graham Henry can help him to do this. For him, it is the mental side of things that need to be fixed up, be in the right headspace consistently.

            • December 6th 2012 @ 9:04am
              kingplaymaker said | December 6th 2012 @ 9:04am | ! Report

              TT 26 isn’t so young. His time may have passed by and he would be 29 at the next World Cup.

              He’s actually half English, but sadly for him his short entry into the All Blacks stops him playing for them. Maitland at least was never capped so can go and play for Scotland.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 12:47pm
                Team Taniwha said | December 6th 2012 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

                So Digby is well past it than, being 27?

              • December 6th 2012 @ 12:52pm
                kingplaymaker said | December 6th 2012 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

                TT there’s a good chance Digby won’t make it to the next RWC. 27-29 is an age when outside backs often decline: look at Rokocoko and Sivivatu. But then some like Jason Robinson are good into their early 30s.

            • December 6th 2012 @ 3:20pm
              Chivas said | December 6th 2012 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

              I feel the same about Freuen. If his workrate was higher, he’d brush aside all opposition and be the first choice. I love watching him run, but I hate that he is not always there defensively or on attack.

              I assume he works really hard in endurance and stamina… he is too much of a freak not to, but the only conclusion I can come to is his heart condition really won’t take the work rate. Can’t they give him some uppers or something. Anyway, if it doesn’t happen soon… it won’t which is really sad.

              Still I’d probably try him in th AB’s to see if I could get a lift. Look at Bunce.. for North Harbour average… for AB’s devastating. However in saying that I am sure those in charge completely dissect everything and make decisions based on information not opinion and sadly that is all we have backed up past stats not real inside information.

      • December 6th 2012 @ 10:01am
        Misha said | December 6th 2012 @ 10:01am | ! Report

        Don’t forget Mr Noravirus – England’s 16th man

        • December 6th 2012 @ 4:30pm
          Hightackle said | December 6th 2012 @ 4:30pm | ! Report

          Engs 16th man was Vunipola.

          I think its sad that we kiwis keep asking for that fringe player N.Evatabulexcuse to be played everytime NZ loses. Hes getting REALLY old now, he was there in 95, again in 2001/2002 against Eng, in 2007 at the WC and after the HK game in 2010 and the 3 nats decider in 2011 we still want to play him again after the ABs latest loss. Imo its about time he was dropped for good and never mentioned again.
          Time to move on.

      • December 6th 2012 @ 11:21am
        defunkt said | December 6th 2012 @ 11:21am | ! Report

        Hansen has stated that Fruean’s heart condition and the impact it has on his fitness and workrate is ruling him out of contention presently. Given the importance of fitness at international level I see no reason to read anything else into it.

        Both Fruean and Ranger are hit and miss players, brilliant to watch at times on attack but anonymous for the best part of most matches and in the cauldron of test footy probably defensive liabilities. The lapses that allowed England to run away with three quick tries were shocking because of how well organized the AB defensive line usually is but this would quickly become the norm without defensively astute midfielders like Conrad Smith.

        • December 6th 2012 @ 11:32am
          kingplaymaker said | December 6th 2012 @ 11:32am | ! Report

          Did Hansen state that?

          • December 6th 2012 @ 11:41am
            kingplaymaker said | December 6th 2012 @ 11:41am | ! Report

            defunkt it appears he said that.

            Why is Fruean’s heart condition good enough for Super rugby but not for international rugby according to Hansen?

          • December 6th 2012 @ 11:43am
            defunkt said | December 6th 2012 @ 11:43am | ! Report

            Yes, I’ve seen him say it on video, not sure where, probably NZ Herald clip.

            The metrics around this are all fairly indisputable given the tracking devices they all wear in Super Rugby now.

            • December 6th 2012 @ 11:47am
              kingplaymaker said | December 6th 2012 @ 11:47am | ! Report

              Yes defunkt but it still doesn’t explain how he play Super rugby with the condition. Why not international rugby then?

              • Roar Guru

                December 6th 2012 @ 1:09pm
                Sam Taulelei said | December 6th 2012 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

                He plays Super rugby but observers over the past three seasons have made similar comments about his penchant for drifting in and out of matches, no doubt influenced by his health and he’s been lagging behind his colleagues with aerobic fitness since he returned to rugby.

                Todd Blackadder admitted before the end of this year’s Super 15 that the coaching staff had been guilty of not managing Fruean’s matchplay better.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 3:26pm
                Chivas said | December 6th 2012 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

                Because he is a devastating player and if he becomes a passenger… At super 15 level you can carry it, because his destructiveness is worth working around. Why because in Super rugby his destructiveness equals a lot of points.

                The same can’t be afforded at international level, because his destructiveness isn’t so effective and the team can’t cover lapses by anyone, because they will be exploited.

          • December 6th 2012 @ 4:38pm
            Hightackle said | December 6th 2012 @ 4:38pm | ! Report

            Seriously Fruean isnt AB material at all yet.
            If he is ever able to play a hard 80 and gets consistentcy into his game then yes but at the mo he is an iffy defender with flashes of brilliance that goes missing for large parts of the game and isnt fit enough.

            • December 6th 2012 @ 8:11pm
              mark said | December 6th 2012 @ 8:11pm | ! Report

              my mail it is not what he does when he has the ball it is his lack of doing much off the ball. in other words higginbotham, except most of our fans actually want higginbotham in the team and he plays a position that is all about off the ball work.

    • Roar Rookie

      December 6th 2012 @ 3:47am
      Neuen said | December 6th 2012 @ 3:47am | ! Report

      Hansen is doing his own Peter De Villiers thing. Using the core of Henry’s team must he must be careful that the same thing do not happen to them than what happened to SA

      • December 6th 2012 @ 5:06pm
        Hightackle said | December 6th 2012 @ 5:06pm | ! Report

        The core of “Henrys” team was Nonu, Carter, Thorn, Mealamu, Hore, Rocakoko, McCaw, Ali Williams, Mils, Woodcock. They were in the team long before Henry.

    • December 6th 2012 @ 5:05am
      Billy Bob said | December 6th 2012 @ 5:05am | ! Report

      KPM , yes , but if the Tahs are not forced to rest players, they may still choose to, given that they have just bought some ‘depth’
      For one thing I am glad that we have other things to obsess about other than a certain Red’s signature.
      Strangely the rugby world took a turn of refreshing balance yesterday.

    • December 6th 2012 @ 5:23am
      kingplaymaker said | December 6th 2012 @ 5:23am | ! Report

      True Billy Bob, although it looks like Cooper is about to sign!

      The Reds weren’t great at resting players either last season. Look at Genia.

      It’s truth Folau does oddly feel like a breath of fresh air…

    • December 6th 2012 @ 5:49am
      Red Kev said | December 6th 2012 @ 5:49am | ! Report

      Wait the Wallaby attack is impotent? Shock, horror! Just who is the attack coach in the Wallaby coaching system … oh that’s right. It’s okay though kpm, Spiro, mark and Mike will explain how it isn’t Deans’ fault so everything is fine.

      • December 6th 2012 @ 6:59am
        eagleJack said | December 6th 2012 @ 6:59am | ! Report

        Groundhog Day……,

      • December 6th 2012 @ 7:07am
        mark said | December 6th 2012 @ 7:07am | ! Report

        tell us about how when the reds lost 61-8 it was not mckenzie’s fault he had too many injuries to be responsible….. then tell us how it is completely different that Deans has had a nightmare season with injuries yet still managed for us to be competitive at international level.

        forget that none of our super xv sides played well this year.

        • December 6th 2012 @ 7:28am
          Justin2 said | December 6th 2012 @ 7:28am | ! Report

          You mean the reds team that still made the finals?

          • December 6th 2012 @ 7:35am
            mark said | December 6th 2012 @ 7:35am | ! Report

            yes the team that scraped into the finals and got booted out quick smart….

            are the wallabies under Deans ever ranked lower than 3rd? and generally no 2? the reds go from the worst side in the compt, to winners, to easy beats and back to finalists. mckenzie is not exactly consistent.

            • December 6th 2012 @ 8:34am
              Justin2 said | December 6th 2012 @ 8:34am | ! Report

              So you ignoring record losses under deans, what a surprise… And comparing rankings in super rugby v test is not comparing apples with apples. How far do the Wallabies ever really fall? 5 and then back to 4 without playing a match and no salary cap to deal with…

              • December 6th 2012 @ 8:47am
                kingplaymaker said | December 6th 2012 @ 8:47am | ! Report

                But he did put Genia at 10, so at least he’s tactically infallible.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 10:15am
                Justin2 said | December 6th 2012 @ 10:15am | ! Report

                Hardly his first choice option KPM though I agree it wasnt the right reign to pull. Anyway who has said he is tactically infallible?

                Mind you thats selection more than tactics and Link has selected some odd ones too. Link has certainly shown much more tactical variety than most coaches going around at the moment, within games and during the season.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 11:47am
                rl said | December 6th 2012 @ 11:47am | ! Report

                I don’t think Link had another reign to pull. Everyone else was buggered, and he’d already proven that Murphy wasn’t up to the mark (yet). So, assuming he didn’t want to risk plucking another youngster from clubland and throwing them to the wolves, who should he have put at 10 from his available squad?

              • December 6th 2012 @ 11:53am
                Jutsie said | December 6th 2012 @ 11:53am | ! Report

                RL that was the case against the sharks in the round robin stages but in the final he could have brought in taps at centre and put harris at 10. The problem is that Tapuai was underdone and link didnt have faith in him lasting the majority of the match and I believe he also had a 5/2 bench so didnt have many other options (could be wrong about the 5/2 though). Almost deansesque isn’t it?

              • December 6th 2012 @ 2:09pm
                soapit` said | December 6th 2012 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

                at least he didnt persist with genia for 18 months when everyone else could tell it was obviously not the right option

              • December 6th 2012 @ 2:17pm
                Jutsie said | December 6th 2012 @ 2:17pm | ! Report

                No but he has persisted with ben daley for 3 years when he clearly isnt upto super or test standard as a prop.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 2:23pm
                rl said | December 6th 2012 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

                That’s right, in the final Link had to decide between Taps (as you say, underdone and most likely not capable of lasting the full game) and Frisby (fully fit, had shown good form during the year and warranted his chance).

                And yes, it was a 5-2 split – I’m not a fan, but I can forgive both Link and Dingo because we seem to need that to overcome our deficiencies in the pack.

                Not sure how you draw the comparison to Deans though – at least Link uses his bench!

              • December 6th 2012 @ 2:23pm
                soapit` said | December 6th 2012 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

                further to my point above:

                everyone makes mistakes and has bad games.but you start to worry when they dont learn and the poor performances last for an extended period.

                to make it simple. mckenzies reds = 1-2 months poor play. deans wallabies = 18 months poor performances
                not really too sensible trying to compare the 2 situations.

                and daley ok for super level

              • December 6th 2012 @ 2:38pm
                Jutsie said | December 6th 2012 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

                LOL apologies RL and soap I probably wasnt being clear enough, I was comparing link to deans because he was taking underdone players into games and using a 5-2 split which resulted in a makeshift backline with key players out of position. It always comes back to bite u on the ass when u take these risks doesnt it?
                And soap thats a good point lets hope link has learnt from his mistake but it seemed he was pretty stubborn about the genia move after the game.
                If anything the problem with deans is he has learnt too much from his mistakes in the first half of his tenure when the wb’s played an expansive game but leaked trys like a sieve and has gone too far in the other direction.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 3:22pm
                soapit` said | December 6th 2012 @ 3:22pm | ! Report

                yeah i was more responding to mark bringing up a single poor match and wondering why people react differently to that than deans last 18 months of rubbish.

        • December 6th 2012 @ 7:51am
          Red Kev said | December 6th 2012 @ 7:51am | ! Report

          I didn’t say McKenzie wasn’t responsible – I said having 5 injuries to the flyhalf position when your squad is 30+5 is a reasonable excuse (even for playing Genia at 10).
          I also seem to recall a 6-0 run to make the finals once the first choice flyhalf returned despite the team missing Reds and Wallaby captain and their best lock.
          The Reds did play well this year, just not consistently well, and not to the same standard they did in 2011. The Wallabies can’t lay claim to playing well at any point during the year unfortunately. They played with spirit and guts but still poorly.

          • December 6th 2012 @ 8:13am
            Train Without A Station said | December 6th 2012 @ 8:13am | ! Report

            That loss was definitely unacceptable. However it was an aberation, not the norm, not one of multiples throughout the year. In addition, they recovered and built consistency, something afer 5 years, Robbie has never been able to do ith the Wallabies. We were sold that we were building towards winning the 2011 World Cup, that Tri-Nations and Bledisloe Cups were being sacrificed for this and put up with a lot of crap along the way, only to be bundled out and finish 3rd anyway.

            • December 6th 2012 @ 11:06am
              Jutsie said | December 6th 2012 @ 11:06am | ! Report

              Actually they suffered a similar loss to the force the week after, and the previous week they gave up a 16 point lead to the sharks in a similar fashion not to mention the final against the sharks where they were hammered at the breakdown.

          • December 6th 2012 @ 3:42pm
            Chivas said | December 6th 2012 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

            Why did Link leave the tahs, now he is super coach. What a joke. The reds dominated the Australian conference.

            Seems the excuse for player depth is ok at super level and not international. Also amongst all the spit…. Dean’s just sticks to his favourites and only changes because he is forced… To Deans moves players around (possibly to find balance) but hell lets just say because he doesn’t know.

            Goddam give me 15 world class players in their positions with the right defensive, attacking and kicking skills to dominate the AB’s. Then once you have the side balanced… Start removing one or two players, remove your captain a few times… All the while balancing winning with developing combinations. Now the initial balance of your team has gone because these players don’t play like the other ones and winning starts to suffer… Ok revise the overall balance and strategy to stop the leaks…

            Mistakes will and have been made, but to imagine Link or White would somehow have managed it perfectly is such a crock. Everyone has 20:20 vision in hindsight.. Fan freakin tastic.

            • December 6th 2012 @ 3:54pm
              Red Kev said | December 6th 2012 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

              Link was fired by the Waratahs board mid season in 2008 and took them to the Super Rugby final (which they lost to the The Crusaders in Deans’ last season with them).

          • December 6th 2012 @ 3:56pm
            Jutsie said | December 6th 2012 @ 3:56pm | ! Report

            RK as a few have pointed out your argument FOR the reds/link is in stark contradiction to your argument AGAINST the wallabies/deans.
            6-0 to end the season you say? The 6 who were beaten were chiefs, lions, ACT, rebels, highlanders, tahs. One team out of 6 was a finalist and lets be honest they were mighty lucky to get over the line in both the ACT and Highlanders games.
            Yet you scoff at anyone who dare mention the 3-0 record the wallabies had against the welsh to begin the year due to the closeness of the games and quality of the opposition.
            5 injuries to flyhalf is a valid excuse for the reds? yet you ridicule anyone who uses the injury excuse for deans and the wallabies. I’ll see your 5 flyhalfs and raise it with 3 captains.

            lets face it aus rugby is in a bad place at the end of 2012 but it isn’t solely the wallabies, all 5 super teams were just as disappointing and suggesting anything else is making excuses due to parochialism.

            • December 6th 2012 @ 5:29pm
              soapit` said | December 6th 2012 @ 5:29pm | ! Report

              i said it in another article but injuries do have less of an impact at test level where you have a professional tier from which to choose replacement players from. still an impact of course but it is less.

          • December 6th 2012 @ 6:35pm
            Hightackle said | December 6th 2012 @ 6:35pm | ! Report

            Soapit wtf are you talking about?
            In the last 18 months the Wallabies have a 64% win ratio, a victory and a draw with #1, 4 wins over SA, a 3 nats victory and a 2nd place, 3rd at the WC and victories over Wales, Eng, Arg, Ital.
            Aus has had a very very good last 18 months considering.
            Austs win % hit 50% all up for the first time in about 2002. Before that hustorically Aust lost most of the time.
            Aust had a rough year this year but if you think thats Deans fault or even mainly Deans fault you are wrong.
            I dont know what you expect, maybe too much. I wonder what McKenzies French club expected before they sacked him becuz the team was in danger of being relegated.

            • December 6th 2012 @ 7:58pm
              soapit` said | December 6th 2012 @ 7:58pm | ! Report

              i expect us to at least come close to breaking even on points for and against over a season and hopefully tries as well. i dont think this is too much to ask. this would indicate that i’m getting at least as much pleasure from watching as frustration.

              i had intended to leave out the 3n though, correct that to 16 months then. from then on we have been ordinary. yes we have beaten and drawn with some teams since then. i have my benchmark set a little higher than that though (see first paragraph)

              and hate to say it but you dont know much about stats if you think that us hitting 50% only in 2002 has very much to do with anything we are talking about. best to stick to comparing deans with results say from the last few decades if you want something like a meaningful comparison.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 8:45pm
                Hightackle said | December 6th 2012 @ 8:45pm | ! Report

                Well allow me to retort.
                How much do you know about stats if you consider 64% in the last 18 months rubbish?
                My example of the 2002 being when Aust got parity was to show all you whingers that Aust has not been a powerhouse of world rugby for long but you all seem to be so upset at being #2 or #3.
                Aust has had a hard year with the worst injury toll Ive ever seen. Pocok, Horwill, Palu, JOC, AAC, Moore, Ioane, Timani, Genia, Beale, Barnes, McCalman, Higgs, Mitchell, Leliafano, Simmons, White, Cooper, Alexander, McCabe, Robinson, Kepu and many others were injured or suspended and missed games or the whole season.
                I know haters like to play this down but thats just silly. Aust did extremely well considering. They drew with NZ. How many other teams have done that in the last few years? What about beating NZ last year? Only 4 teams have done that in the last 60 years!
                Heres a recent stat for you. Aust won 60% with a 9-5-1 ratio in 2012. Only NZ finished the year with a better W/L/D record. Geez! Its a wonder all of the Wallabies fans havnt topped themselves. Spare me the drama, the sky isnt falling and Aust has done very well to hold it together and finish the year having only lost 33% of their games.
                Well done Wallabies.
                Next year when you get Genia, Horwill, Lealiifano/Cooper, Beale, JOC and a few others on the park, you will be a very good side no matter who the coach is.

              • December 6th 2012 @ 9:31pm
                soapit said | December 6th 2012 @ 9:31pm | ! Report

                its 5th in the world so not the best but i have never had huge complaints about the win loss ratio, would always like it higher but realistically we won close to every match we all expected to (one extra loss to scotland and swap england for france). i’d be very interested to see how you’ve arrived at the belief we have the second wld record despite 5th in win percentages. do you just count the draw as a win?

                rubbish refers to the style of play. we should not be so far in the negative for points for/against. even though i predicted the result of all but 3 of our tests this year i still tuned in because i like to watch good rugby and thats where the wallabies are supposed to come to the party.

                and we won the world cup in 91 and finished 4th in 87. so we’ve been a ‘powerhouse’ for 25 years now. i think thats a reasonable amount of time and encompasses all of the professional era. there really is a limit to how long ago information comes from before it stops being relevant to the current problem. next you’ll be bringing up that 120 years ago we didnt even have a national side so we should just be happy to have someone to cheer for at all.

                and youre right, the sky isnt falling, our rugby team is just playing badly. thats what we’re here to discuss.

      • December 6th 2012 @ 5:11pm
        Hightackle said | December 6th 2012 @ 5:11pm | ! Report

        Im sure you would pin 9/11 on Deans if you could.

        • December 6th 2012 @ 10:00pm
          Hightackle said | December 6th 2012 @ 10:00pm | ! Report

          Whats 5th in the world?
          The win loss draw? Its 2nd of the tier 1 teams
          SA 58%
          Eng 50%
          Wales 41%
          Arg 25%
          Scot 27%
          Ire 30%
          Fra 60% but no draws.
          NZ 85%
          Aust 60% with a draw
          Italy 30%

          I forgot about Sam but with games against Jap, Fiji, Tong and Can making up 4 of its 5 wins its not really fair.

          • December 6th 2012 @ 10:05pm
            Hightackle said | December 6th 2012 @ 10:05pm | ! Report

            Sorry France did draw but only won 6 games to Aust 9.

          • Roar Guru

            December 6th 2012 @ 10:24pm
            biltongbek said | December 6th 2012 @ 10:24pm | ! Report

            Well if you are counting draws, then SA is 58% with 2 draws.

            • December 6th 2012 @ 10:53pm
              Hightackle said | December 6th 2012 @ 10:53pm | ! Report

              Yep 58% wins and 2 draws. Ire drew a game as did Arg.
              However Aust won 9 games to get 60% win ratio. SA won 7 to get 58%. SAs draw ratio is higher but not their wins or the amount of wins. SA is ranked higher becuz the did not suffer losses to lower ranked teams like Scot and did not suffer as heavy defeats as often as Aust.
              SA also had a shocking year for injuries.

            • December 7th 2012 @ 9:13am
              soapit` said | December 7th 2012 @ 9:13am | ! Report

              seems quite unusual how many draws there were this year. i wonder if thats a function of less tries being scored (and less variety in numbers of points).

          • December 6th 2012 @ 10:29pm
            Jerry said | December 6th 2012 @ 10:29pm | ! Report

            I think the problem is that (for some bizarre reason) counts a draw as half a win which skews their stats.

            • December 7th 2012 @ 9:32am
              soapit` said | December 7th 2012 @ 9:32am | ! Report

              yep seems thats what espn stats is doing as well. not sure there’s a better way to include them in the statistic (as opposed to writing it in words as some kind of tie break after counting it as a loss in the figure)

          • December 7th 2012 @ 9:10am
            soapit` said | December 7th 2012 @ 9:10am | ! Report

            well i have for 2012 :

            nz – 89%
            sam – 71%
            SA – 66%
            france – 65%
            aus – 63%


            i’d be sceptical of anything saying we were 2nd this year seeing as we managed to drop a place to 3rd in the irb rankings

      • December 7th 2012 @ 2:41pm
        Mike said | December 7th 2012 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

        “Wait the Wallaby attack is impotent? Shock, horror! Just who is the attack coach in the Wallaby coaching system … oh that’s right. It’s okay though kpm, Spiro, mark and Mike will explain how it isn’t Deans’ fault so everything is fine.”

        Oh hi, RK, still sore are you, after being cut to pieces in debates? Just go back to sleep, mate. The Wallabies attack is no more or less “impotent” than it has been for the past ten years – its just that some of us aren’t self-deluded.

        You will soon get your wish, Deans will be out, more Red’s players will be selected, etc etc. And then, guess what? …. everything will be exactly the same as it was before. I am sure you will find something else to whinge about then … 😉

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