Feeding Three Amigos to the Lions

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    New Wallabies signings James O'Connor, Quade Cooper, coach Robbie Deans, David Pocock and Sekope Kepu at ARU headquaters, Sydney. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

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    Win, lose, or in the unlikely event of a draw, it is probable Kurtley Beale, James O’Connor and Quade Cooper will be right at the centre of the outcome of the Lions tour.

    Robbie Deans nailed his colours to the mast quite some time ago – long before Beale reportedly clocked the other Cooper (Vuna). It was before Quade turned Erin Brockovich at team Wallaby. It was just before the infamous food fight.

    The fact is when he took the helm, Deans made all three youngsters a foundation of his coaching platform for Rugby World Cup 2011 and this Lions series.

    While not impossible, it is unlikely the three will take to the field simultaneously. Deans seems unwilling to think of JOC instead of Pat McCabe and more willing to start Beale at 10 instead of Cooper for example.

    But all surely must figure prominently in Robbie Deans’ plans for the most significant Test series in a generation for the Wallabies.

    To suggest otherwise would suggest Deans, arguably the most stubborn Wallaby coach in living memory, is digressing from his master plan.

    Just how worried the ARU and Wallabies coaching staff are right now by Beale’s behaviour and O’Connor’s lack of form is anyone’s guess. It is safe to say ‘very’ is a safe one though.

    Quade Cooper is slowly returning to form and reigniting his partnership with Will Genia is key. But would Deans have started him anyway?

    Should Beale’s latest indiscretion see him suspended for a number of weeks, a player who is heavily dependent on match fitness will have little to none.

    Just eight weeks out from the Lions landing on Australian shores, the Wallabies are already in a heap of trouble.

    Just how fair would it be for Robbie Deans to throw a Matt Toomua into the hot seat for this series? Probably about as fair as it is likely.

    I’ve written before about the selfishness, ill-discipline and lack of morality the Three Amigos have exhibited over the years.

    The ARU should have and could have come down like a ton of bricks on each one of them well before now.

    But they didn’t.

    And so it is written that these three young men will become heroes or villains. While the sadist in most of us would like it to be villains, the patriots in all of us say different.

    All three young men are well paid. They are wonderful rugby players. Just ask them. So sooner or later they were going to have to back up all the talk and walk the walk.

    The Lions series is the stage they need to do it.

    If they can’t, it’s time to feed all three of them to the Lions.

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    The Crowd Says (40)

    • March 26th 2013 @ 7:55am
      mania said | March 26th 2013 @ 7:55am | ! Report

      QC slowly returning to form? easy on its been one good game. QC has more shockers than form games. lets wait and see if genia’s influence sticks or whether its just QC being inconsistent.

      i iterate that beale needs pro help. something isnt right in his life and males are infamous for being macho and not looking for assistance when they need it most. beales got a drinking problem. if he had been in NZ the NZRFU would’ve been threatening to rip up his contract if he didnt get help long before now.

      • March 26th 2013 @ 9:28am
        Simon Levingston said | March 26th 2013 @ 9:28am | ! Report

        Mania, I agree, QC has hardly been convincing at S15 level, and clearly not a good enough standard to be selected at No.10 for the Wallabies. I think there are better options available and if I was a selector I would like to see how they perform with Will Genia, who can even make skittish erratic players like QC look good.

        With regard to Beale and his drinking, there are two types of drunks: happy drunks and nasty drunks, Beale seems to be the latter. Based on my experience, counselling and pandering just doesn’t work with nasty drunks, their nastiness is hard wired. The message to Beale is simple, NO drinking and if you do want to drink, you are to do it on your own! This message should be given to his team mates, stay away from Beale if it involves alchohol, he is trouble.

        • March 26th 2013 @ 9:59am
          Justin2 said | March 26th 2013 @ 9:59am | ! Report

          Simon how do you propose other 10 candidates look with Genia? There are no matches prior to the Lions series for this to happen. Training will tell you very little.

          • March 26th 2013 @ 10:57am
            Simon Levingston said | March 26th 2013 @ 10:57am | ! Report

            Justin2, you are 100% correct, this is clearly yet another mistake by the weak ARU management by not having any warm up matches for the Wallabies. The Lions are be playing together in Hong Kong and Australia and testing their combinations before the first test in Brisbane. Robbie Deans should be critical of the ARU and their mismanagment to create the opportunities for him to test his new combinations under pressure. You would have at least, as a selector, like to see how Christian Lealiifano, James O’Connor or Kurtley Beale (if he can stay sober) would combine with Will Genia, in the heat of battle. Robbie Deans is not being offered this opportunity, at the same time his job is on the line and being told to undertake a difficult job while being effectively blind folded, a totally unreasonable proposition by any measure.

        • March 26th 2013 @ 10:01am
          Sickofthe10debate said | March 26th 2013 @ 10:01am | ! Report

          Like who? Unfortunately, noone who has any experience at test level. And with no “trial” game before the 1st test, it makes it as much of a gamble going without Cooper as it does with.

      • March 26th 2013 @ 9:57am
        Justin2 said | March 26th 2013 @ 9:57am | ! Report

        Rubbish, he has had one poor game this year.

        • March 26th 2013 @ 2:21pm
          PeterK said | March 26th 2013 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

          totally agree. Cooper was restrained and underplaying his hand early. Good solid games. He had 1 poor game against the Canes, and 1 brilliant game against the Bulls.

          A lot of people ignore that Genia was NOT effective last year at the reds when Cooper was injured.

          They are like a twin door fridge both need to be there for it to work really well.

          • March 27th 2013 @ 1:09am
            Hightackle said | March 27th 2013 @ 1:09am | ! Report

            Genia lead the comp for linebreak assists.

            A lot of people think that Genia didnt do well in Coopers absence, they are wrong.

        • March 27th 2013 @ 1:11am
          Hightackle said | March 27th 2013 @ 1:11am | ! Report

          Rubbish hes had one GOOD game this year.

    • March 26th 2013 @ 8:25am
      maximillian said | March 26th 2013 @ 8:25am | ! Report

      Of the 3 amigos I think Beale will easily be the 1 to miss out & that was before his most recent indiscretion. Mogg has really put his hand up for the fullback spot & QC looks that much better alongside Genia. Id play JOC on the wing.

      • March 26th 2013 @ 9:59am
        Justin2 said | March 26th 2013 @ 9:59am | ! Report

        Agree Max and I think that will play out too.

        • March 26th 2013 @ 2:24pm
          PeterK said | March 26th 2013 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

          me too, even before this last indiscretion I had Mogg at F/B because he has such a long kick and can catch the ball. Many better 10’s than Beale.

          IMO Beale will be lucking to make then bench even if he is not suspended, mind you I am talking about Deans so he may pick Beale to start at 10, McCabe at 12, AAC at 13, Barnes at 15 and it wont matter on the wing they wont get the ball.

      • March 27th 2013 @ 11:50pm
        Crazy Horse said | March 27th 2013 @ 11:50pm | ! Report

        So which of the performing wingers would you leave out to let JOC play there?

        The incumbents Ione and Cummins?
        The rapidly improving Mitchell?
        2013 star Mafi?
        etc, etc etc

        JOC is a long way down the list of those who would be on my list for selection at either 11 or 14.

        • March 28th 2013 @ 11:14am
          soapit said | March 28th 2013 @ 11:14am | ! Report

          rapidly improving mitchell. i guess one good game after being dropped is rapid improvement.

          cummins will go. deans was forced to pick him last year and wont use him if he has other options. it’ll be 2 spots for ione/mitchell/joc/mafi/tomane.

          it depends on what the rest of the team is like. he wont want a whole green backline so if toomua and lelifano get picked on top of mogg who surely must be odds on from here he’ll want experience for the rest of the positions. i’d put all those candidates at equal odds to get a spot at this point, mafi and tomane might be playing slightly better but not so much that experience of the others will count for nothing.

    • March 26th 2013 @ 8:40am
      hog said | March 26th 2013 @ 8:40am | ! Report

      Hope Beale is dealt with, if what is said happened in SA its nothing short of a disgrace especially considering what happened on the field a couple of hours earlier.

    • March 26th 2013 @ 8:55am
      Sailosi said | March 26th 2013 @ 8:55am | ! Report

      Couldn’t have JOC anywhere near the Wallabies. Not good enough.

      • March 26th 2013 @ 11:04am
        Simon Levingston said | March 26th 2013 @ 11:04am | ! Report

        Sailosi, I wouldn’t necessarily point the finger at the poor performances of James O’Connor. I think the blame should be put on Damien Hill, who is poorly managing this valuable franchise, damaging the careers of many of the players under his control and to top it off is continuing to play James O’Conner out of position at 15, when he should be at 10 or 12.

    • March 26th 2013 @ 9:02am
      Jonny Boy Jnr said | March 26th 2013 @ 9:02am | ! Report

      Bear is a myth. He was terrific for a handful of internationals in 2010 ans since then has produced a mix or ordinary and awful

      Cooper is completely spooked by the All Blacksand even by a Richie McCaw-led Crusaders at super rugby level. Add to that his first half last week was appalling.

      Keep these two well away from the Lions series !

    • March 26th 2013 @ 9:02am
      AussiKiwi said | March 26th 2013 @ 9:02am | ! Report

      When Deans started with this group I really thought he was laying the foundations for a great team, not so much for 2011 but for the 2015 world cup. The group (including others like Genia and Pocock) had all the talent in the world, they just needed experience.

      It all seems to have gone horribly wrong since then, and I don’t think Deans is entirely to blame. He’s not the one who has overindulged these players.

      Beale seems to have completely lost his way. He hasn’t really shown form for at least a year. The Rebels was (with hindsight) a terrible move for him, probably made for all the wrong reasons. He has never looked really happy there. If the reports of the Vuna incident are accurate he should have a substantial suspension and fine, for his own good as much as anything else.

      The other two have had serious injuries to contend with, so probably deserve the benefit of the doubt this season.

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