The Roar
The Roar


Prop skills do not include throwing the ball

James Slipper's future children will all be named Bernard. (AAP Image/NZN IMAGE, SNPA, John Cowpland)
Roar Guru
19th October, 2015

Watching the Wallabies on Monday morning was almost too much. In fact I had to turn the TV over a couple of times, but I would quickly turn it back to the action.

It had a little bit of that car crash kind of feel to it. I didn’t want to watch but I couldn’t bring myself to look away.

With eight minutes left on the clock I felt that the Wallabies had finally done enough to seal the game. We were breaking the gain line and progressing comfortably enough up the field – most importantly with the ball in our possession.

Then all Australian rugby fans, and probably all fans of rugby, learnt a massively valuable lesson – props are not allowed to pass.

Props are the most important people on the field, they do all the handwork while all the pretty backs get all the glory. Hell, even backrowers are considered the greatest of all time and are generally considered the most exciting forwards on the park.

Props are the work engine of any typical rugby team. They lift the tall guys in the lineout, they truck the ball forward and they are the first point of contact in the trenches.

But one thing they do not do is pass.

If this piece sounds like a whine, it is.

In all fairness James Slipper could be seen going down to his haunches the moment the ball was intercepted; he understood the gravity of the situation.


As he watched Mark Bennett score underneath the posts, he would have remembered the training ground message he would have heard countless times – the pretty guys can throw the pass and the real rugby players tuck it under their arm and go into contact.

Thankfully for Slipper, Bernard Foley was able to convert a controversial penalty in the 79th minute of the game.

Needless to say, all future children born in the Slipper family will be named Bernard in recognition of the man that saved him from being the man that threw the World Cup away.

In 2003, when Matt Dunning demonstrated his immense drop-kicking skills, we all thought we’d never see a better example of a fundamental rugby fact – but Monday morning proved us all wrong.

Hopefully, we’ll see a lot more running and scrummaging and a lot less double pumping and passing from now on – my heart can’t take it.