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The Wallabies scrum must get back on Topo

Rabbitz Roar Guru

By Rabbitz, Rabbitz is a Roar Guru

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25 Have your say

    The Wallabies forwards are continually outclassed - but the opposition gets a little help from the refs. (Photo: Paul Barkley/LookPro)

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    The Wallabies scrum is diabolical. Dumb, disjointed and not working as an effective unit. We need to pressure the ARU to get on with fixing this crucial part of their game.

    After the abysmal performance by the Wallabies on Saturday the time has come; not for revolution but rather grassroots pressure.

    It is time for us, the grassroots supporters, the mugs who buy the tickets, the ordinary girls and guys who put up with the sponsors advertisements, those who set up each Saturday so the juniors, colts and clubs can play to start to make our voices heard.

    How can we do anything?

    Australia is lucky enough to have one of the best front rowers to ever don the boots and he wore a gold jersey. A man who has the drive and ability to teach the black arts, he has a massive understanding of the mechanics, the psychology, the passion and the rat cunning needed to scrummage well.

    I am speaking, of course, about Enrique ‘Topo’ Rodriguez.

    Topo has written what is probably the definitive book on the black arts of scrummaging, only he hasn’t left it as some mystical art, he has broken it down into coachable facets of scrum play.

    The book is ‘The Art of Scrummaging‘ (click on the link to purchase a copy). Every forward and coach should have this on their shelf – and it should be dog-eared, muddy and well thumbed.

    Yet the ARU don’t seem to understand the valuable resource they could harness.

    We need to make the ARU understand that they need this man back in the fold. We need to start making noise about this.

    How about we start a movement?

    Email the ARU (Anyone got Bill Pulver’s email address?).
    Tweet the ARU – @QantasWallabies and @ARU_Community.
    Write blogs.
    Talk to ARU people you know.
    Ask former Wallabies to get on board.
    Make calls.
    Do what you can.

    Let’s get the message to the ARU and quickly!

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    The Crowd Says (25)

    • September 10th 2013 @ 6:40am
      Krasnoff of Noosa said | September 10th 2013 @ 6:40am | ! Report

      Good positive thinking instead of this incredible bullshit: ‘dumbing down’, a ‘slog-fest’? The problems with the Wallabies are as follows: they can’t last more than 60 minutes; their scrum is unstable and often collapses; the ball comes too slowly from the breakdown and moves aimlessly; too much spilled ball and turnovers. And this devolves to lack of conditioning, poor technique with the second row when they pack down and a vulnerable tight head, a halfback who has become too slow in clearing the ball and a fly-half who moves laterally because the opposition is on top of him, too much dropped balls which points to a lack of skills practice. McKenzie needs to get a mirror to his coaching staff so that they can take a hard look at themselves.

      • Roar Guru

        September 10th 2013 @ 8:26am
        Rabbitz said | September 10th 2013 @ 8:26am | ! Report

        While I can’t dispute any of the criticisms you have made, they need to start somewhere. The team needs a stable, effective scrum from which it can build. If the scrum is stable then work can be done to the crabbing and disjointed backline.

        Baby steps – fix one issue at a time.

    • September 10th 2013 @ 7:53am
      Jeff said | September 10th 2013 @ 7:53am | ! Report

      Too late.We apponted Mckenzie as our coach when it needed to be White.

      • Roar Guru

        September 10th 2013 @ 8:22am
        Rabbitz said | September 10th 2013 @ 8:22am | ! Report

        Let me explain this in small sentences.

        McKenzie is the head coach.

        Andrew Blades is the scrum coach.

        Mckenzie delegates to Blade regarding the scrum.

        Blades needs help.

        Topo could help.

        See in the big bad world out there the boss doesn’t do everything he or she delegates the work for others to do and if one of the staff is struggles the boss gets them assistance. Not really rocket surgery.

        • September 10th 2013 @ 12:32pm
          wannabprop said | September 10th 2013 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

          ‘Andrew Blades is the scrum coach’. If the scrum coach ‘needs help’, then surely the better option would be employ a scrum coach who does not need help?

          • Roar Guru

            September 10th 2013 @ 3:47pm
            Rabbitz said | September 10th 2013 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

            Enter Mr Rodrguez…..

            BRING BACK TOPO


            • September 11th 2013 @ 5:10am
              wannabprop said | September 11th 2013 @ 5:10am | ! Report

              All for it! I do vaguely remember he had some input many years ago after retiring which wasn’t well received. Politics? personalities? Maybe someone better informed than I can shed some light on what went down. I heard rumours that ‘no one could understand what he was talking about…’ Have any props out there read the book? Is it actually any good?

        • Roar Pro

          September 10th 2013 @ 4:48pm
          Bruticus said | September 10th 2013 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

          Not to mention that scrum gurus are certainly more plentiful than rocket surgeons 😛

      • September 12th 2013 @ 12:25am
        Hannes said | September 12th 2013 @ 12:25am | ! Report

        Agree with Jeff the the problem is deeper than just the scrum. McKenzie has not one anything so far to justify his selection. How will dropping Genia help to fix the scrum or to fix the lack of physicality in the forwards. Change for change sake?

    • September 10th 2013 @ 8:28am
      Vinay said | September 10th 2013 @ 8:28am | ! Report

      Apart from scrum we have been playing second fiddle to AB’s and now Boks in kicking.
      AB’s have an Aussie as kicking coach. Why does the ARU fail to provide full time kicking coach to Wallabies when aerial ping pong is such a big part of rugby (unfortunately, I might add) these days.

      Talk about intelligent rugby team is one thing but have resources is another.

    • September 10th 2013 @ 9:21am
      formeropenside said | September 10th 2013 @ 9:21am | ! Report

      Try Slipper to THP, Benn Robbo at LHP. Greg Holmes 16, Alexander or Kepu 18. The tight head side has been a problem all series to date. Time to see if Slipper can do well there – he’s been very strong at LHP.

      I’d keep Moore at hooker, but SF might get an early run on if Moore cannot learn to strike for the ball. A third prop-hooker may be OK when you dont have the feed, but on your own feed it seems a problem. Hell, maybe you could even train SF to strike at the opposition ball.

      • Roar Guru

        September 10th 2013 @ 3:49pm
        Rabbitz said | September 10th 2013 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

        Seriously FOS, until they learn the craft shuffling is not going to help.

        None of them are currently up to the job.

        As we do not have the nurseries to raise them through juniors and clubs they need to be taught at elite level. Until then you can play musical chairs all you like but they will continue to be pushed all over the park.

    • Roar Guru

      September 10th 2013 @ 10:09am
      sheek said | September 10th 2013 @ 10:09am | ! Report


      I concur.

      When I was a kid, Australian cricket put out a wonderful book in the late 60s, which I think was sponsored by Dunlop.

      The book contains different chapters on batting (different positions), batting technique, bowling (different types), bowling technique, wicket-keeping, fielding (catching & throwing), captaincy, tactics, fitness/preparation, etc.

      Each chapter was written by a different player, either current or recently retired, who was considered a leader in his particular field.

      A similar book on rugby might also have ben written. In any case, it might include a separate chapter on requirement of each position, scrums, lineouts, kickoffs & restarts, rucks & mauls, the breakdown, passing & catching, tackling, the different types of kicking, captaincy, tactics, fitness/preparation, etc.

      Each chapter written by a recently retired specialist in his field (no current players!!!).

      The purpose of mentioning all this, is that where are the great retired players whose expertise is being utilised?

      Top for the scrum; Eales for lineouts; Poidevin for the breakdown; Ella for tactical plays; Campo for broken field running & counter-attacks; Burke for goal-kicking; Lynagh for tactical kicking; Farr-Jones for captaincy; George Smith for tackling; Rathbone for fitness/preparation.

      Etc, etc, etc, etc, etc…..

      • September 10th 2013 @ 1:33pm
        BenG said | September 10th 2013 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

        There is a book by Mark Ella, it’s called “Running Rugby”. Punishment for the recent woeful performances should be to read and practice what it says 100 times over before they are allowed to play again!.

    • September 10th 2013 @ 10:21am
      2beers blind said | September 10th 2013 @ 10:21am | ! Report

      Not sure the problem is in the 2nd row, from watching the game – WB scrum got a lot better with Hooper off the field. Then get Mowen back to 6 and pushing instead of swanning around at 8. Only then would I start looking hard at the rest.

      • Roar Guru

        September 10th 2013 @ 3:45pm
        Rabbitz said | September 10th 2013 @ 3:45pm | ! Report

        I never said it was entirely the 2nd row. It is the scrum as a unit. It is woeful.

        It is not about reshuffling. It is about teaching the current and potential wallaby forwards to scrummage properly and decisively.

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