How much am I looking forward to rugby in 2013?

gatesy Roar Guru

By gatesy, gatesy is a Roar Guru

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83 Have your say

    How much am I looking forward to the rugby season in 2013? I haven’t had too much to say on The Roar this year, as frankly, I think that the reportage has been fairly ordinary.

    But it’s a new year, and there is a bit of excitement in the air!

    It seems like everyone is fit, for once.

    James O’Connor back on board, desperate to take Kurtley’s No 10 jersey, and along comes a new kid (Angus Roberts) who looks like getting the nod at fly half at the Rebels.

    Wow, that’s one out of left field and the kind of surprise I like to read about in the morning paper.

    Next is the Brumbies. What might have been last year?

    Watching Matt Toomua and then Christian Lealiifano go down with injury was almost surreal. However, Jake White just got on with it and how close did we come?

    Clyde Rathbone is back and don’t underestimate that little vignette! In 2012, leaders stood up, none less than Benny Mowen.

    Ben, you will wear the Green and Gold. Dave Pocock appears to be refreshed and mentally dangerous with many others ready to make a mark.

    I reckon the team is revving up like a purring Ferrari. The quiet achievers are on the starting blocks and I’m excited. The Brumbies are strong across the park in 2013.

    The Waratahs are up next. They are Australian rugby’s glamour boys and perennial underachievers.

    I have, however, a funny feeling that that is about to change.

    Coach Michael Cheika will bring the eastern suburbs, surf club, hard man attitude, and I’m guessing that there ain’t much room for princesses at Moore Park at the moment.

    If you haven’t noticed, there is not a lot of hype coming out of the Waratahs right about now. It looks like they have finally decided to do their trash talking on the paddock for a change!

    The Reds. Well how would you know? Who is really in charge? Have to say, every photo, video and article that Ewen McKenzie features in shows him looking pretty relaxed.

    Looks like someone is doing the hard yards at HQ. But they are fit, mostly ready to play and therefore bloody dangerous. A lot of people down south are hoping Quade Cooper gets knocked out by that bloke that he is about to fight.

    What a bummer for rugby, in general, if he gets his block knocked off. Silly season is in full swing!

    Are the Rebels the new Waratahs? I mean, on paper they are a top side but have they got their heads in the right place?

    They definitely have the talent, and I think that they will be the fourth team in the conference this year.

    I was glad to see Danny Cipriani go, but not too many other radical changes – Higginbotham should contribute – if they can get O’Connor and Beale firing together, they should be dangerous.

    I hope that Saffy can make an impact this year. He made a big commitment to come across from NRL and hasn’t yet been able to crack it.

    He has come off second best against the likes of Michael Hooper and Pocock, and he must be wondering what happened.

    Well, mate, when you are playing in that position, you can’t afford to be complacent, that’s for sure!

    Finally, the Force. Who knows?

    They are a bunch of relative no names. Foley has to prove himself, yet again,

    I wish them all the best and I am definitely looking forward to seeing Sam Norton-Knight back.

    He is one of those players that you just like to watch. Will be interesting to see how his game has gone while he has been in Europe.

    What about international rugby?

    The biggest event this year is the Lions’ tour. We need to have a good look at the Six Nations, because I don’t think that there will be the same number of big well known names in this year’s group than the last time they were here.

    Given that they will be playing most of their games against our professional outfits this time around, it’s not likely to be too much like the last time they were here, when their first game was against some Western Australian amateurs with a couple of east coast ring ins.

    The final score was around 62-0, which was a feel good start to their tour. However, it won’t happen again this year.

    My guess is that they better be on song from the get go. We have more depth this year, and barring some catastrophic injuries in the early part of Super Rugby, the best are on deck.

    If the Six Nations is one-sided, then England will get weight of numbers and the arrogance factor will be right up there.

    As for the Wallabies, after five years, I can’t decide whether Robbie Deans is a great coach or not.

    He probably is not, but you have to give him the benefit of the doubt with the injury toll the Wallabies suffered last year.

    However, the omission of Matt Giteau from the Rugby World Cup was a glaring mistake that can never be forgotten. So maybe that is the best way to sum it up.

    The silly season has been pretty light on for rugby news, but there seems to be a new crop of journos who might try to write original stuff!

    I surf the rugby web most days and I find the same stuff everywhere I go.

    And last but not least, the most exciting thing for me this year is that my little guy, Charlie (just ten-years-old), had his first rugby season last year.

    He loves the game big time, and wants to learn everything about it.

    He can’t wait to get back into it in 2013… it doesn’t get any better than that!

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    The Crowd Says (83)

    • January 30th 2013 @ 7:28am
      mania said | January 30th 2013 @ 7:28am | ! Report

      biggest wc mistake deans made wasnt gitteau it was not having georgeSmith in the squad

      • January 30th 2013 @ 8:08am
        Justin2 said | January 30th 2013 @ 8:08am | ! Report

        He made plenty of mistakes, that was just one not having a back up 7. Now he is going the other way and playing two every match almost

        • Roar Guru

          January 30th 2013 @ 2:32pm
          jeznez said | January 30th 2013 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

          agree with you both

          • January 30th 2013 @ 2:43pm
            kingplaymaker said | January 30th 2013 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

            mania the ARU let Smith go not Deans.

            • Roar Guru

              January 30th 2013 @ 8:14pm
              niwdEyaJ said | January 30th 2013 @ 8:14pm | ! Report

              He could have picked Robinson!

            • January 31st 2013 @ 6:10am
              mania said | January 31st 2013 @ 6:10am | ! Report

              KPM – deans shouldve thought ahead and said to the ARU, “dont sign his release till after the WC. he’s one of the greatest players ever and we might need him for the WC”. it wouldve been cruel to gSmith but it was a WC year.

              • February 3rd 2013 @ 12:28am
                jeremy said | February 3rd 2013 @ 12:28am | ! Report

                I agree mania. he should have kept smith in the squad. So what if he wasn’t contracted. I blame deans dammit!!

      • January 31st 2013 @ 2:41am
        Hightackle said | January 31st 2013 @ 2:41am | ! Report

        The ABs didnt have a backup 7 and since when does Australia pick overseas based players?

        • January 31st 2013 @ 6:07am
          Justin2 said | January 31st 2013 @ 6:07am | ! Report

          Since when do we give a sh…it what nz or anyone else do with their team? Deans had more 6/8s than he needed, the squad was unbalanced from the start and many of us said so at the time.

      • January 31st 2013 @ 2:54am
        Hightackle said | January 31st 2013 @ 2:54am | ! Report

        George Smith hasnt played for Australia since 2009 and was playing overseas. He could not play for Australia anymore than Hayman could for NZ.
        Also it was played in NZ, so if Pocock gets badly injured, its no big deal to fly in a replacement if hes not already in country. This was NZs thinking also.
        O’Brien is not a fetcher and that was the game Pocock was missed.

        Robbies biggest mistake was playing Cooper imo. However that is hindsight and he couldnt have known what a rubbish tourny he would have. I hope hes learned his lesson after another dose of Cooper imploding in 2012.

    • January 30th 2013 @ 8:07am
      Red Kev said | January 30th 2013 @ 8:07am | ! Report

      Just to add to your list of fun season preview facts – I saw a report that Dan Palmer is leaving the Brumbies after the Super Rugby season to play in the French Top 14 and increase his scrummaging rep. Good for the Wallabies in the long run, sad for Australia in the short term.

      • January 30th 2013 @ 8:16am
        kingplaymaker said | January 30th 2013 @ 8:16am | ! Report

        RK worrying that the ARU can’t hold on to the likes of Palmer and Timani, when the previous regime never lost anyone for years except those toward the end of their careers.

        • January 30th 2013 @ 8:17am
          Red Kev said | January 30th 2013 @ 8:17am | ! Report

          Yeah I didn’t see the Timani thing until today – that is a lot of scrum power going out the door if they leave.

          • January 30th 2013 @ 8:22am
            kingplaymaker said | January 30th 2013 @ 8:22am | ! Report

            RK also I can’t understand why this is suddenly happening when the previous regime managed not to lose any up and coming players like this. It’s pretty ominous.

            • January 30th 2013 @ 8:28am
              mania said | January 30th 2013 @ 8:28am | ! Report

              KPM – is it really that much of a surprise? born and bred tongan, moved to NZ and played rugby here in auckland. turned 19 moved to Aus. played league for sharks then changed back to rugby.
              sitaleki is the modern journeyman who goes where the money is best. he’s not a mercenary he’s just smart and looking out for himself.

              • January 30th 2013 @ 8:51am
                Red Kev said | January 30th 2013 @ 8:51am | ! Report

                If I recall correctly Robbie Deans sat down with Digby Ioane and his mother a couple of years ago when he was looking at chasing the money in Japan and outlined his plan for Diggers and his hopes of how good a Wallaby he could become. Seems to have done the trick. Maybe it is time to call in Robbie for a cuppa with Mrs Timani.

              • January 30th 2013 @ 8:54am
                kingplaymaker said | January 30th 2013 @ 8:54am | ! Report

                Indeed RK and also Palmer: who knows how good Palmer could be given how early it is in his career? And as the front line props are hardly that reliably good the last area players can be afford to be lost is the front row.

              • January 31st 2013 @ 4:04pm
                RebelRanger said | January 31st 2013 @ 4:04pm | ! Report

                Maybe Deans knows that Palmer and Timani are no where near as talented as Digby and didn’t care whether they left or not.

            • January 30th 2013 @ 8:29am
              Red Kev said | January 30th 2013 @ 8:29am | ! Report

              JON’s salary cap maybe?

              • January 30th 2013 @ 8:34am
                kingplaymaker said | January 30th 2013 @ 8:34am | ! Report

                RK it could be but he seemed able to keep players on board even with it.

                mania maybe, but it has hardly happened over the past few years.

              • January 30th 2013 @ 8:49am
                mania said | January 30th 2013 @ 8:49am | ! Report

                kpm – its more prevalent now isnt it? imports coming in and playing for aus?
                from the 80’s i can only remember patricioNoriega and willieO being non australian born in the wallaby’s. these days theres more and more and they probably dont cherish national honours as much as u do.
                also guys like timani come from a country that isnt classed as 3rd world but its very low tech, high in manual labour. timani’s values are based more on not starving and not returning to the poverty level he had in tonga. national honours in this case is a far far second to starving.

              • January 30th 2013 @ 8:57am
                kingplaymaker said | January 30th 2013 @ 8:57am | ! Report

                mania if you compare more recently the ARU in JON’s last tenure didn’t lose any up and coming capped player: the threatened loss of two is therefore a big new problem.

                Of course Timani deserves to be paid what he merits but again the previous ARU regime were able to keep the players in Australia so presumably they offered enough in the end.

              • January 30th 2013 @ 9:00am
                mania said | January 30th 2013 @ 9:00am | ! Report

                kpm – u should know this but i’ll say it anyway. ARU are lining their own pockets and dont give a sht about aus rugby. its top heavy and way too much money is spent on the ceo’s and board members salary instead of the reason why fans turn up and thats to watch the players.

              • January 30th 2013 @ 9:06am
                kingplaymaker said | January 30th 2013 @ 9:06am | ! Report

                Well certainly letting a prop and grunt lock in their second international seasons go would be pretty disastrous.

              • January 30th 2013 @ 9:25am
                p.Tah said | January 30th 2013 @ 9:25am | ! Report

                Thie players going overseas was predicted and has little to do with the change in administration. The RWC then the Lions Tour kept players in Australia. We’ll see more signing up after the Lions Tour.

                To suggest the administrators salaries are taking all the money is absurd.

                In a Few months time we’ll return to posts about the ‘greedy’ players taking all the money that should go to grassroots rugby… Or a third tier… Or a super rugby franchise on the moon.

              • January 30th 2013 @ 9:47am
                kingplaymaker said | January 30th 2013 @ 9:47am | ! Report

                p.tah was it predicted? As far as I’m aware not a single player in the early phase of their international career and capped has left since 2007.

              • January 30th 2013 @ 1:01pm
                p.Tah said | January 30th 2013 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

                KPM, we’ve handed out a lot of caps lately.There isn’t room for all those guys in the Wallabies, hence Palmers departure.

                Timani, I’m not surprised at. He has already done a stint in Japan. Money is obviously important to him (as it is for many of us). I’m not certian he is leaving yet. We’ll have to keep watching.

                The next cab off the rank to Europe, IMO will be Barnes after the Lions Tour. The Tahs want him, but I think his time with the Wallabies is on the wane after the Lions. he will command decent money in Europe and his game style will better suit their tactics.

              • January 30th 2013 @ 1:05pm
                kingplaymaker said | January 30th 2013 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

                p.tah Palmer wasn’t just any old cap though, but played well against strong Scottish scrummagers and could quite likely have been a contender to start in time.

                The larger point though is that, whatever Palmer and Timani are like, the ARU did not lose players of this kind before. It is a new development and coincides with the new regime.

              • January 30th 2013 @ 1:42pm
                p.Tah said | January 30th 2013 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

                KPM, at the moment I don’t think it’s a causal effect (new regime and players leaving). Alexander, Moore, QC and Pocock were signed after JON left. Perhaps you are soothsayer, we’ll have to see what unfolds. Hopefully you’re wrong 🙂

              • January 30th 2013 @ 1:47pm
                kingplaymaker said | January 30th 2013 @ 1:47pm | ! Report

                I hope so p.tah, it would be a grim prophecy if proven right!

                If there’s anyone the Wallabies can’t lose, it’s forwards.

          • January 30th 2013 @ 9:31am
            formeropenside said | January 30th 2013 @ 9:31am | ! Report

            Timani is not really a loss, though.

            • Roar Guru

              January 30th 2013 @ 9:47am
              B-Rock said | January 30th 2013 @ 9:47am | ! Report

              Not a loss? how so FOS?

              IMHO Horwill and Douglas are ahead of him but losing him will definitely hurt our depth

              • January 30th 2013 @ 9:48am
                kingplaymaker said | January 30th 2013 @ 9:48am | ! Report

                Because he plays for NSW and not QLD B-Rock, which in fos’ eyes means he is useless.

              • January 30th 2013 @ 11:46am
                formeropenside said | January 30th 2013 @ 11:46am | ! Report

                Because based on actual performance – as opposed to physical size – Timani has failed to perform in all but one and half Tests.

                If Deans had not thrown a cap at him in the Samoa 2011 Test to keep Tonga from taking him to the RWC, we’d not be missing him at all.

                Horwill, Simmons (as a replacement for a Sharpe type lock), Douglas, Pyle, Neville – I think the second row stocks are fine.

              • January 30th 2013 @ 11:53am
                Jutsie said | January 30th 2013 @ 11:53am | ! Report

                Thats 1.5 games more than simmons has performed at test level

              • January 30th 2013 @ 1:00pm
                kingplaymaker said | January 30th 2013 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

                Except that’s not true: he has been outstanding aside from the first two or three tests.

              • Roar Guru

                January 30th 2013 @ 3:24pm
                Jiggles said | January 30th 2013 @ 3:24pm | ! Report

                Jutsie – Timani is a THL and isn’t comparable to Simmons at all. As a THL Timani is well behind Horwill, Douglas, Neville in that order IMO. TImani’s only good attribute is his pushing in the scrums. He is much poorer than the other options around the park and in the lineout. His hands a woeful.

                With regards to LHL we are very thin on the ground. Simmons had a poor 2012 but he does have all the skills to become an excellent option if he applies himself at the breakdown. He seemed to skirt the hard work in 2012.

                I expect Pyle to put his hand up this year and I like the look of him a lot. Carter is also an excellent LHL prospect I think who does a lot of hardwork in the ruck which we really need in the pack. We have to many passangers and he was often was near the top of the tackle and ruck count for the Ponnies. Fardy is the same but he is more of a THL/Blindside flanker.

                The real issue is that Simmons is the only LHL with test experience, and Deans really stuffed up not giving Pyle and Carter time last year when it was obvious Simmons wasn’t performing.

        • January 31st 2013 @ 2:56am
          Hightackle said | January 31st 2013 @ 2:56am | ! Report

          How can you blame the ARU?

      • Roar Guru

        January 30th 2013 @ 1:00pm
        gatesy said | January 30th 2013 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

        Yes, but the way most of these guys would look at it might be to do a short term stint o/s between the Lions and the next RWC and come back and take their chances ..same with Timani .. worth the risk if the big bucks are on offer.

    • January 30th 2013 @ 8:08am
      Atawhai Drive said | January 30th 2013 @ 8:08am | ! Report

      The score in the first match of the 2001 Lions tour was 116-10. They also played the amateurs of NSW Country on that tour, winning 46-3.

      I thought at the time there would be no more Lions matches against amateurs, so it’s pleasing that in 2013 the amateurs of Combined (NSW and Queensland) Country will get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to line up against an international touring side.

      There has been plenty of interesting rugby journalism to read over our off-season, not least from the likes of Stephen Jones, Andy Bull and Robert Kitson. In Australia, Wayne Smith of The Australian has kept things ticking over nicely.

      • Roar Guru

        January 30th 2013 @ 1:01pm
        gatesy said | January 30th 2013 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

        I stand corrected on that score.

    • January 30th 2013 @ 8:18am
      kingplaymaker said | January 30th 2013 @ 8:18am | ! Report

      Some good news at least. Jake White would seem to have a real eye for talent:

      • January 30th 2013 @ 8:24am
        Johnno said | January 30th 2013 @ 8:24am | ! Report

        All these guys need an extra club. Remember Stirling Mortlock the great ex-wallaby captain, born and bread Sydneysider, did not play 1 game for the waratahs, they didn’t want a bar of him. And he needed the Brumbies to give him a chance.

      • January 30th 2013 @ 9:29am
        gaffa said | January 30th 2013 @ 9:29am | ! Report

        Keep floggin that dead horse KPM

        • January 30th 2013 @ 9:46am
          kingplaymaker said | January 30th 2013 @ 9:46am | ! Report

          Looks less dead than you think, unless you have a better idea of what a talented player is than Jake White which is, frankly, pretty unlikely.

          • January 30th 2013 @ 10:48am
            gaffa said | January 30th 2013 @ 10:48am | ! Report

            If he was so good he would have been picked up by another club and given a contract. He has just started training for FREE with no contract because of a few injury’s. Clubs cant afford to carry players these days esp clubs like the Force who don’t have the depth to do so.
            Good luck to him and if he plays for the Brumbies and becomes a star than well done to him but give it a rest. You make it out likes its some sort of vendetta against him by Foley and the Force. If it was so bad that he was cut why is his Brother training for FREE with the Force

            • January 30th 2013 @ 1:03pm
              kingplaymaker said | January 30th 2013 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

              gaffa, he wasn’t given a contract at the Force because of this injury, and so the Brumbies took him on because unlike Foley Jake White can identify talent!

              Foley can’t identify talent or thinks seniority is more important, whereas White can see it. The reason he doesn’t have a full contract with the Brumbies is a) he became available too late b) White wants to see if there’s any recurrence of what was a serious shoulder injury before committing. Foley could have moved him to an extended player squad, but then he would need an eye for talent like Jake White.

              • January 30th 2013 @ 1:48pm
                gaffa said | January 30th 2013 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

                the guy was cut in september last year plent of time to get picked up by other team. its not like White called him then and said come train he has only just started because fo some injurys.

                You keep saying that Foley is a cant identify talent bassed on 1 player. a player that sure showed something at a young age but has played all of about a hours rugby in 5 years.

              • January 30th 2013 @ 1:51pm
                kingplaymaker said | January 30th 2013 @ 1:51pm | ! Report

                White’s squad was full from before september until the injuries.

                Foley has no eye for talent, and kept players on for ages after their sell-by date. He is a disaster of a coach.

                Luckily this players has survived his brush with Foley.

                Others may not be so lucky.

              • February 3rd 2013 @ 12:35am
                jeremy said | February 3rd 2013 @ 12:35am | ! Report

                I am with you KPM. He is a great player but I blame deans for him not getting a shot.

      • January 30th 2013 @ 12:49pm
        Jagman said | January 30th 2013 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

        I’d much rather we found a way to get this guy back. 104kg, 196cm, faster than Jarred Hayne

        • January 30th 2013 @ 12:51pm
          gaffa said | January 30th 2013 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

          From what i know the Force was about to or had signed this guy this year but he then had a shoulder injury which ruled him out for the year.

          • January 30th 2013 @ 9:26pm
            Malo said | January 30th 2013 @ 9:26pm | ! Report

            Should be in the wallabies straight up. That was awesome. Him Folau and AAC and JOc, Barnes, Genia would be phenomenal.

          • January 31st 2013 @ 11:51am
            Jagman said | January 31st 2013 @ 11:51am | ! Report

            Yeah I heard he was training with the Force until injury curtailed him. But aren’t clubs already signing up for 2014. The Rebels and Force don’t exactly have an impressive stock of wingers.

    • January 30th 2013 @ 8:29am
      Sherry said | January 30th 2013 @ 8:29am | ! Report

      Good rundown Gatesy. We’re all waiting to see how the stars come back from their long layoffs. And I, for one, think that Clive Rathbone could surprise on the plus side.

      I strongly doubt the 6N will be one-sided. I’m wondering, when Tuilagi comes back weekend after next, if England can reproduce the running game they showed against the ABs. If they can’t, Ireland could defeat England who’ll be on the road for that game, and if Wales can at last turn things around they could get close to England at Cardiff. France plays England at Twickers Feb 13 which could be the game of the tourney. And France at Dublin will be worth the price of admission. All these games will give us a good look at the players most likely to make the Lions. Lions will be extra Celtic-heavy if England disappoint. Then we’ll have to wait and see if they gel as a team.

    • January 30th 2013 @ 8:55am
      Scudda Ho said | January 30th 2013 @ 8:55am | ! Report

      GATESY – I don’t believe they’ll be an English arrogance factor because they could indeed be thumped by France and Ireland. And playing Wales at the Millenium won’t be a day at the beach either. By the time June rolls around the BIG AUSSIE RUGBY QUESTION – who’ll be our playmaker, Quade, JOC or Beale – will be settled. Personally, I’m hoping for Quade at 10 at JOC at 13.

      • Roar Guru

        January 30th 2013 @ 1:04pm
        gatesy said | January 30th 2013 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

        I guess what prompted that was the way they were crowing after beating the AB’s once!

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