Gibson and the Waratahs could be a perfect match, but it’s too early to judge

Dan Vickerman Columnist

By Dan Vickerman, Dan Vickerman is a Roar Expert

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    Maybe things for Aussie Super Rugby aren't bad, they're just really, really good for New Zealand. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

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    Why, when there is a changing of the guard, do you see teams take some time to rebuild or adapt to a supposed new style?

    It’s a hard question to answer, but as is so often is the case, success does not continue in perpetuity. The once invincible Crusaders, whilst always a force in the competition, have taken time to adjust to a new era. The Bulls, the Brumbies, the Reds, the Chiefs, Tahs and the Highlanders more recently are all championship sides, but change one piece of the puzzle and the results differ wildy.

    The focus for this piece will be the Waratahs, but I will be honest; I have a monumental bias towards them, so forgive me if my opinion is skewed.

    The key factor which shifts momentum or group dynamics is how change is managed, or more importantly how the man management of the coach differs. Each coach will have their style, which takes time to implement from a management perspective and adapt to from a playing point of view.

    Little gets mentioned about the Lions from the South African conference. They have long been under achievers, and whilst not a genuine title contender, what has the Johann Ackerman done to that group that makes them a threat to any opponent they play? I believe he has instilled a confidence to try things and play with belief.

    This is their culture, their way.

    I am unsure how much was said about the time it took their squad to get to where they are today, but the group is not vastly from that which John Mitchell had. I stand to be corrected!

    What is different, though, is that the coaching team has now been able to, possibly with the players input, identify a style that resonates with the group. Put it down to good management. I believe they are a better side now than they were last year, and this is the coach’s third year in charge.

    My view is that the foundations were set in year one, refined in year two and it seems to have now sunk in. I think that should this team of both management and players stay together for another year or two, they could be genuine final series contenders.

    This is why consistency is so important. Mark my words, should the Springboks poach Johann Ackerman, you will see a very different Lions team run onto the field in the next few years, and not for the better!

    Focusing on the Tahs, I believe that General Gibson has his plan in place. He is building and working on his own unique style of man management which is different to 2014, but importantly he has troops that are able and willing.

    Change takes time, but one thing that does not change is the want to radiate a winning ethos and always playing for one another. Let’s not forget that the 2014 championship side took a year of building prior to hoisting the trophy high above their heads.

    There has also been a rotation of hardened warriors and a blooding of a new generation who give their utmost at the front line weekly.

    New management tacticians, with the stability of a lead-from-the-front defensive guru are starting to make their mark. Glimpses of what they are trying to achieve we witnessed at fortress Newlands on the weekend.

    Why this transition takes so much time is not always clear. Very often, the same troops are there and nothing much has changed, but the results turn from success to consistently poor. A good example is the Brumbies in the late 90s and early 2000s.

    The roll over from Rod Macqueen to Jones to Nucifora did not provide year-on-year success, but yet they managed titles in 2001 and 2004, which cannot be deemed unsuccessful.

    Very rarely does a change in coach after a championship year result in achieving the holy grail of a double premiership.

    Stability is key in all of this. The vision, the strategy and most importantly aligning your warriors with the culture of what you are trying to achieve does not occur overnight. Multiple title winners, the Bulls and Crusaders, had the same generals and troops in place for numerous years, so the continuity was there, the culture was built and crucially maintained.

    A winning culture, or more importantly a culture of knowing what success means, was fostered by both the players and coaches.

    The level of attrition in the game is as gruelling as ever, coupled with the addition of new teams, changes in bonus point structures and consistently increasing travel schedules. These all take time to adjust to.

    A physical game, a sound set-piece allowing width from all areas of the field and power runners with the ability to bend the line sounds simple to achieve. This is where the Waratahs are going – it’s not rocket science I know, but rugby is a simple game.

    It is not dissimilar to what they did in 2014, but now with a few different leaders, and it is their job to make the culture flow through the group like osmosis daily. Although the Waratahs have a way to go on their set piece and consistency pertinent to physicality, glimpses of this are there. It only takes a spark to ignite a fire.

    Basics done well or a strategy well executed on a consistent basis is very hard to beat in Super Rugby. For example, many a man has stated that defence wins matches. This can be true, but for me, the mindset is crucial.

    Not only is it about making the actual tackle, but also in the intent.

    What was so different about the Waratahs on the weekend from weeks gone by?

    In my opinion, the key was the consistency of the work being done. The ferocity of the counter rucking, the line speed and the sting in the tackle was there in abundance.

    What a difference that made! The Waratahs were resilient; the Stormers scored, but they came back. The injured and tired got back up time and time again. Now this is what successful teams are looking to achieve on a weekly basis.

    One good performance means nothing now, but it shows us all what is achievable when things are done correctly and with intent.

    Why have the basics such as set piece and handling let the troops down at times? I do not have the answer, but I can assure you that it is not due to lack of effort. Pressure is not only what an opponent puts on one, it also comes from within!

    Try too hard and what would normally be a simple basic skill done a thousand times on the training field becomes a recurring error.

    The beauty about rugby is that you only have to wait a week to rectify things. Some recent evidence of this is what we witnessed against the Stormers. Sublime backline work against the Stormers came when a solid foundation was laid, quick ball provided and the 13, Israel Folau, went straight through. Bang – seven points as easy as that!

    So give the generals some time. Years two and three is where you can truly look at a squad and organisation and start critically judging.

    It is then that the recruitment strategy has been tried and tested, culture implemented and lived and the true colours of an organisation consistently displayed, from top to bottom. Whilst this is hard at times to accept – patience is required. I have no doubt that the management team has their vision in place, they know where they are going and they will achieve it.

    Once this timeline has run its course, then feel free to judge not only my opinion but also those who have been at the coalface doing their work, the way they know.

    Dan Vickerman
    Dan Vickerman

    Dan Vickerman played 78 Super Rugby games for the Brumbies and Waratahs and 63 for the Wallabies as a lock between 2002 and 2011.

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    The Crowd Says (63)

    • May 6th 2016 @ 6:34am
      wolfman said | May 6th 2016 @ 6:34am | ! Report

      I don’t see too much different. Gibson was obviously a heavy influence on the Cheika era at the warpaths.

      In all the last 3 seasons, the Waratahs have taken a while to get a roll on. History is repeating itself again it seems.

      In 2014 they ended up close to unstoppable by seasons’ s end, after 4 losses in the first half of the season, (although I felt there form peaked a couple of rounds before the end of the season when they thumped a very good Highlanders side by 30 or 40, their momentum got them over the proverbial line, just).

      In 2015 they also lost 4 or so games in the 1st half of the season, and recovered but alas fell at the penultimate hurdle, (to be fair apart from a very convincing win against the Crusaders in Sydney last year I never really thought they were set to win the comp, just to top the aussie conference, which they did do in the end),

      And so far in 2016 they have once again lost 4 games in the 1st half of the season and now look like they’re recovering like they did these past few years. We will have to see if last week’s win is the catalyst to go onto topping the aussiie conference for the 3rd year in a row ( i think so) and/or win the comp (I’m more confident this year than last because of a bit more youthful enthusiasm in the staring line up to compliment the experience in the squad).

      ps it will help when Naiyarovoro returns next week!

      • Roar Guru

        May 6th 2016 @ 9:07am
        Machooka said | May 6th 2016 @ 9:07am | ! Report

        Good comment wolfman… and there are some striking similarities this season to 2015’s season, but looking at the draw we will be fortunate to finish the top Aussie side.
        Da Brums, on the other hand, have a much better run to the Finals than the Tahs. Althougn, in saying that, if they lose to the Bulls this w’end, they also may struggle.
        Then, to be fair, the Rebs might do something they haven’t done before!

        Regardless, all three teams will only be making up the numbers, come the Finals, for mine.

      • Roar Guru

        May 6th 2016 @ 11:08am
        Train Without A Station said | May 6th 2016 @ 11:08am | ! Report

        Or maybe they’ve just played the Force and then had a 1 man advantage for close to 30% of a game and that’s why they’ve strung 2 good wins together?

        Perform like that against the Crusaders and Chiefs with 15 men and it might be true.

        • May 6th 2016 @ 11:31am
          wolfmann said | May 6th 2016 @ 11:31am | ! Report

          considering they lost to the Force in 2014 and 2015 this year they’re doing better

    • May 6th 2016 @ 8:46am
      Boz the Younger said | May 6th 2016 @ 8:46am | ! Report

      The Waratahs scrum, lineout and breakdown all went from heros to zeros when Gibson and Blades took over. That is not “rebuilding” and “gaining confidence to try new things” it is a plain lack of coaching competence. If it wasn’t for the flaccid Tahs pack, their backs are good enough to make them genuine contenders.

      • May 6th 2016 @ 9:52am
        pjm said | May 6th 2016 @ 9:52am | ! Report

        Because their backline has stayed largely the same. Meanwhile in the forwards they lost their best prop, two best hookers, best lock and now have two rookies in the backrow after losing Potgeiter, Hoiles, Chapman and Palu.

        The Tahs are lacking in the tight 5 but that is because of Cheika not establishing depth in those positions.

        • May 6th 2016 @ 10:01am
          Boz the Younger said | May 6th 2016 @ 10:01am | ! Report

          I it is more than a lack of depth, established players like Hooper, Skelton, Palu and Dennis have not been up to scratch either. The two rookies in the back row have been a couple of the best Tahs on the park, especially Holloway, so I can’t see how you could call that a problem with depth. Ben Robinson’s comments about the poor standards at scrum practice is a big clue about where the problem lies.

          • May 6th 2016 @ 10:48am
            pjm said | May 6th 2016 @ 10:48am | ! Report

            Come on Boz, read it again mate. I specifically said depth problems were in the tight 5. Holloway and Dempsey have been playing great and along with Hooper with form a formidable back row for years to come.

            Palu and Dennis are on the way out, don’t worry about them.

            • May 6th 2016 @ 10:57am
              Boz the Younger said | May 6th 2016 @ 10:57am | ! Report

              Well, you did mention the two rookies in the back row in the context of the discussion about depth, but anyway, you can’t deny that the established forwards haven’t been up to their usual standards. If it was one or two of them you could put it down to individual problems, but with so many you have to look at the coaching.

              • May 6th 2016 @ 11:15am
                pjm said | May 6th 2016 @ 11:15am | ! Report

                An openside and a single lock not performing fantastically isn’t enough to explain away the problems the Tahs have. Palu and Dennis are not getting much time nor deserve it.

              • May 6th 2016 @ 1:34pm
                Boz the Younger said | May 6th 2016 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

                Dennis is far from past it, he is only 30 and previously played well, his poor performance is indicative of a broader trend of poorly coached forwards. I would also add that Ta’avao, Tilse, Mumm, Ryan are all experienced players who have done better in the past, so I don’t see how your argument about player inexperience stacks up in any way shape or form.

              • May 6th 2016 @ 2:14pm
                pjm said | May 6th 2016 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

                Ta’avao, Tilse, Mumm, Ryan are all known slackers who are more often useless than good. Dennis is moving off to Europe are a pretty average career with 2014 being the highlight.

                I’ll wait to see who Gibson who can recruit before I pass judgement over the forwards. Backs have no excuse but are starting to put it together now, perhaps that is because Foley has no strung some games together.

              • May 7th 2016 @ 11:55am
                Boz the Younger said | May 7th 2016 @ 11:55am | ! Report

                It is a coaches job to motivate known slackers, Cheika did, Gibson isn’t. That is why they are losing.

          • May 6th 2016 @ 11:28am
            Chivas said | May 6th 2016 @ 11:28am | ! Report

            You assume an awful lot based on zero information and a single comment by one person (Robinson, who has hardly covered himself in glory with respect to either scrummaging or work rate)… All leading to coaching incompetence. Many of the discussions about coaches seems to be emotive in an effort to either immortalise or pillorise,..

            If you work with facts, not unsubstantiated or weakly substantiated opinion, you might be less inclined to look for scapegoats and hence oversimplify the task at hand.

            Firstly, there has been a significant decrease in muscle in the tight five. Also losing Ledesma has probably been more telling than losing Chieka.

            Secondly, Gibson was very highly regarded as a coach in NZ before he came to Australia and was earmarked for higher honours in the future. He was accorded a lot of respect by many parties outside the Crusaders for his influence on backline defence and attack at the Crusaders.

            Thirdly his rise to Head coach was not a mistake, a rite of passage or a matter of last man standing, better toss him the ball.

            Fourtthly, players like Skelton can’t improve enough to make up for an aging Palu / Dennis or losing Kepu, Potgeiter.

            But of course none of these matter, when you can use a broad brush and suggest success is just who is head coach. The love in for Chieka is strong with many Warratahs fans, but the truth is there are far more variables which determine success than him. What has Chieka erally achieved in terms of creating or building a winning legacy. He got some good wins no doubt, but one controversial SR title and an equally controversial RWC final is not a legacy.

            Meanwhile before Gibson’s first year is even complete, some people seem to already have their minds made up as to his worth.

            • May 6th 2016 @ 1:29pm
              Boz the Younger said | May 6th 2016 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

              Zero information? The information that I have is for everybody to see, disintegrating scrums, muffed lineouts and lost breakdowns, when last and in previous season none of that was the case. It is a clear indication of poor forwards coaching.

              Gibson was an assistant coach in NZ, just like he has been with the Tahs, and his expertise is in back play. That is all very well as an assistant but a head coach has a broader responsibility to ensure that the team is prepared for all aspects of the game. It may be that Blades is a poor forward coach but as head coach the buck stops with Gibson, he either needs to demand improvement or find himself a better forwards coach. Until then he owns every failure, because he inherited a team that was in better shape than it is under him.

              The comment about Cheika’s legacy is stupid, he achieved all you describe in just three seasons in Australia so his legacy building is far from over yet. However, I would say that turning around two under-performing teams within a season (the Wallabies) or two (the Waratahs) and winning major silverware like the Super Rugby final, the Rugby Championship Trophy, not to mention getting to the finals in the World Cup, is a pretty good start.

              • May 6th 2016 @ 5:32pm
                Chivas said | May 6th 2016 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

                I should have said poor information to draw the sort of conclusions people do about his abilities as a coach. What details do you have with respect to Gibson’s coaching ability. What are your terms of reference and knowledge of what makes a good coach or a poor one. Mostly what you have said is simple rhetoric and on that basis come to a simple and somewhat average conclusion.

                I read quite a lot on this website about what a coach is supposed to deliver and the immediacy of these things, but mostly these views and opinions seem to be based on a helicopter view (much like your own) where the less real context or detail the better… Chieka left a well performing team and Ben Robinson a relatively weak performer in the forwards said they haven’t been scrumming well… and that is all you need to determine the coach is no good after a handful of games

                Well in fact he didn’t the team lost it’s best players, so it is hardly the same team and the points I made above seem to have slipped below your flight path. Yes he was an assistant coach, what does that have to do with anything, so have many top quality coaches started their journey thus.

                For the record Chieka hasn’t created a legacy. What is stupid is how quickly some people hype up one coaches skills and denigrate another’s..A legacy is building a team and culture that lasts beyond the coaches time at the helm… The first time you use a trick it works wonders, the hard thing is to consistently turn up and perform over a long period of time. He has not done that yet BOZ. As for winning the RC trophy, it was a shortened competition completely favouring the Wallabies as I’m sure you are aware and the other two things you mention are also surrounded by controversy… namely making it to the RWC finals where they got completely outplayed and the SR final which they got a fortunate call.

                For the record, I am not suggesting Chieka is not a capable head coach. He has proven he has what it takes at the highest level, but legacies are built over time, not a handful of wins and very little current silverware. When a coach leaves a legacy it doesn’t fall apart the moment he leaves or in my view he didn’t leave much of substance. I personally rate Chieka a lot higher as a coach and a person than the last Wallaby coach who thought it was OK to put his mistress above the team… but he still has some work to do before I would be putting him on a pedestal.

              • May 7th 2016 @ 4:37pm
                Boz the Younger said | May 7th 2016 @ 4:37pm | ! Report

                The whole Cheika “legacy” thing is just a straw man argument, it isn’t even what this discussion is about. And raising the matter of the former coach’s personal life completely out of context is just grubby. Since you cannot discuss the Tahs inconsistent performance on the field based on what we are all seeing on our screens every week, I will concluded that you do not know what you are talking about and see no reason for further discussion.

            • May 6th 2016 @ 3:12pm
              KICKALONG said | May 6th 2016 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

              Fourtthly, players like Skelton can’t improve enough to make up for an aging Palu / Dennis or losing Kepu, Potgeiter.

              If skelton is not good enough why is he still in the tah? I cant see him improving greatly this season given his poor fitness, inflexibility – cant jump and poor general play

              • Columnist

                May 6th 2016 @ 3:19pm
                Geoff Parkes said | May 6th 2016 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

                Why is Skelton still in the Tah’s? You obviously didn’t watch last weeks’ game Kickalong.

              • May 7th 2016 @ 7:08am
                Ruminate said | May 7th 2016 @ 7:08am | ! Report

                Because Skelton is but one player in the forward pack and can’t cover for the number of players lost or who have gotten older. With the amount of transition in the forwards, and the forwards coach, it’s not surprising that it’s taking time
                BTW, I think Skelton’s only 23, is clearly much fitter than any previous season, and played pretty well last week.

        • May 6th 2016 @ 10:15am
          Markus said | May 6th 2016 @ 10:15am | ! Report

          “best lock”
          You counted Potgieter twice.

    • Roar Guru

      May 6th 2016 @ 9:09am
      Machooka said | May 6th 2016 @ 9:09am | ! Report

      Good read Daniel… and thought the line ‘Try too hard and what would normally be a simple basic skill done a thousand times on the training field becomes a recurring error.’ was very apt!

    • May 6th 2016 @ 11:00am
      Hack Ref said | May 6th 2016 @ 11:00am | ! Report

      So refreshing to read a thoughtful article. Thank you, keep the good work up and bring more to the Blog, please.

      Tahs, I have often stated that they “steel defeat from the jaws of victory! ” But of late they have grown with changes that had evolved over the seasons. To be fair I think they are in an OK place. Mr Gibson, which I have had the pleasure of meeting, strikes me as a genuine and humble man. In rugby, as in life; I just love leadership through humility, a trait of the very best. Gibson’s style is not that of the emotive Mr Cheika and adjustments all need to be made as you say.

      Perhaps what I find the most encouraging is how the gaps created from players moving on have been filled by the new and old. Kurtley Beale pleases me no end as he assumes his role as senior in the playing group which looks great for him and good for all. Israel Folau, is another humble leader emerging to fill the AAC role. New players like Dempsey, Holloway, Kellaway Roach, Lousi and Robertson are encouraging to watch as they grow into the new Wallaby player pool.

      I truly belief the fickle Tahs fans have always cried out for a team ethos of high intensity “compete for the ball” (all areas including set piece) and a strong running/ passing game. To win ugly is often needed but loose ugly is to betray the fans. Cheika tapped into this belief of the fans and made the players accountable which is our teams their route to playing success.

      Highlighted, was the reward for the fans with the win in Newlands. Michael Hooper was inspiring all game and lead the pack to a simply fantastic tight head win on the Stormers 5m line with minutes to go. Just to allow them just the faintest opportunity to win the game in the championship moments. The self believe allowed them to go on to win the game with a determined pick and drive. Fitting that the humble leader was to be rewarded.

      Rewards for the coaching staff. Its sweet to see the work of their charges pay a dividend. But the fans see what they have craved for decades “intense competition for the ball and at scrum time!” then putting it all on the line for a win! Even if the result had been other the Tahs fans would pledge there support again and again. But to win and win well. Requires nothing more than admiration. Well done. Mr Gibson and Mr Hooper and the team of Players and Coaches well done and thank you.

      • Roar Guru

        May 6th 2016 @ 3:24pm
        ThugbyFan said | May 6th 2016 @ 3:24pm | ! Report

        Well spoken Hack. As a Tahs believer, I love it. 🙂

      • Roar Guru

        May 7th 2016 @ 10:21am
        stillmissit said | May 7th 2016 @ 10:21am | ! Report

        Hack ref: Said “strikes me as a genuine and humble man. In rugby, as in life; I just love leadership through humility,” So did Robbie Deans and look what happened to him. The players of which the 3 amigo’s were the best example, took advantage of the man’s kindness. The Roar also followed suit, baying for McKenzie to take over.

        Lucky for Australian rugby Cheika knows how to handle self-centred players.

    • May 6th 2016 @ 11:02am
      Paul said | May 6th 2016 @ 11:02am | ! Report

      I think the Tahs are setting themselves up for a solid run to the end of season. Will it be enough remains to be seen as there are some tough matches ahead. It all bodes better for next year though as some young blood will be far better for the experience.

      I’m really beginning to think Tom Robertson is the find of the year. Very young but incredibly strong, and smart. I hope that Aus Rugby locks him in long term with some confidence inspiring opportunities (get in him into the Wallaby environment and take him on the end of year tour even just as a back up).

      • Roar Guru

        May 6th 2016 @ 11:15am
        Train Without A Station said | May 6th 2016 @ 11:15am | ! Report

        I think that’s what few NSW fans are willing to consider. Their remaining draw sees them face:


        Sitting at 11th currently, they now face 4 teams above them and 3 teams below them in their remaining matches.

        To just expect that they will finish strong like Wolfman ignores that they are 11th because they have lost to the teams above them in most cases this year so far, and their wins have come from teams below them with the exception of the Stormers.

        • Roar Guru

          May 6th 2016 @ 11:35am
          Machooka said | May 6th 2016 @ 11:35am | ! Report

          C’mon TWAS… I don’t think wolfman is ‘ignoring’ that we are presently 11th on the log at all.

          What he said is there’s similarities for the Tahs to the past couple of seasons. And the fact that the Tahs have a game in hand over all in the Aussie Conf, and further if the Tahs can beat the Tahs (thanks MrRobC 🙂 ) this w’end, then there’s every chance/ opportunity of going deep if their form continues.

          Now whether the Tahs succeed in this is obviously debatable, and if they do their chances of doing better in the Finals increases.

          For mine, though, if they do get to the Final stages, I think that they’d only be there to make-up the numbers.
          But you never know as it’s ‘knock-out’ Rugby at that stage… and a poor preformance can end a promising season.
          Just ask the Canes supporters??

        • May 6th 2016 @ 11:37am
          wolfmann said | May 6th 2016 @ 11:37am | ! Report

          the Waratahs will top the conference and either make the GF or go close.

          They are our best chance of an Australian team winning the comp, granted it is clear you just don’t want that to be true, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. It is.

        • Roar Guru

          May 6th 2016 @ 11:40am
          cs said | May 6th 2016 @ 11:40am | ! Report

          What’s the implicit strategy in that Twas? You can only do well if you can sneak through via a weak draw?

          It’s tautological to say that the Tahs can’t do well because they face too many teams sitting above them on the table at the moment. If the Tahs are to be genuine contenders in 2016, there’s only one authentically big ask in front of them, the Crusaders away. If the Tahs have the stuff to go on this year, they necessarily need to have the stuff to match or take out the balance.

          Oh, and good to read your column Dan (so sadly missed on the field). As Wolfman points out, it’s par for the Tahs to have a nervous breakdown in the first half of the season. For mine, the most obvious problem the team faced this year was the loss of Cheika’s charisma, but perhaps we’re now getting over it … hope springs.

          • Roar Guru

            May 6th 2016 @ 11:48am
            Train Without A Station said | May 6th 2016 @ 11:48am | ! Report


            That the Tahs can’t do well because of where they sit after their easiest half of the draw.

            Had the draw been reversed for them, it would be perfectly reasonable to suggest they could win the vast majority of their remaining games.

            • May 6th 2016 @ 12:07pm
              rebel said | May 6th 2016 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

              Teams can improve, just as the reds have. It’s pretty simplistic to suggest that because of past results, future results are then locked in.

              • Roar Guru

                May 6th 2016 @ 12:26pm
                Train Without A Station said | May 6th 2016 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

                Not so much can’t as unlikely.

                I would be surprised if the Reds won more than 3 more games this year.

              • May 6th 2016 @ 12:29pm
                Paul said | May 6th 2016 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

                If it was just a matter of the Tahs improving then fine, but the issue is given the poor start to the year and the run home they are not the masters of their own destiny. They also need the Brumbies to fall over.

              • May 6th 2016 @ 12:35pm
                rebel said | May 6th 2016 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

                Paul, true, but the future is not set.

                TWAS, so we should change your sentence to this:
                “That the Tahs PROBABLY WON”T do well because of where they sit after their easiest half of the draw.”
                People were claiming the Reds wouldn’t win another game weeks ago due to their start to the year. I remember others not accepting that, and for good reason.

            • Roar Guru

              May 6th 2016 @ 1:27pm
              ThugbyFan said | May 6th 2016 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

              Oh TWAS, ye of little faith. Reds to win at least 4 games, Sunwolves and the Rebels who seem to be in a death spiral. And what about the next 2 weeks, the Reds are on a roll so a simple lil jump over the ditch and flog the Cleaning Lady ‘Sadies and Hurry Canes. Six games for the year. (ps: I am NOT a betting man) 🙂

            • Roar Guru

              May 6th 2016 @ 1:54pm
              cs said | May 6th 2016 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

              In a bygone era:

              Caveman Twas: What are you doing cs?
              Caveman cs: Inventing the wheel. After thrashing around for half the day, I think I’ve finally figured out how everything works. I solved those red bits easy enough, but four experiments have now failed, mainly due to the opposition of those tired old horses and some of my own sloppy work. Yet I’ve learned from my mistakes. The pieces are now starting to fit together. I thought I had it a moment ago while the storm was happening, and I’m definitely getting close. Look how this KB thing works with the Nard whatsi, and dig this Izzy flyer, and the front bit now looks solid.
              Caveman Twas: Don’t be stupid. If you were ever going to invent the wheel you would have done so before the sun passed the mid-point.
              Caveman cs: OK. Can’t argue with that logic. I give up.

              And so, all history as we now know it never happened.

          • Roar Guru

            May 6th 2016 @ 11:51am
            Machooka said | May 6th 2016 @ 11:51am | ! Report

            Eternal cs E T E R N A L… especially when you are a Tahs long suffering supporter! 🙂

            • Roar Guru

              May 6th 2016 @ 1:01pm
              cs said | May 6th 2016 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

              .. in the goddamn breast;
              We never are, but always to be blessed:
              Our soul, uneasy and confined from home,
              Rests and expatiates in the Tahs to come.

              • Roar Guru

                May 6th 2016 @ 1:17pm
                Machooka said | May 6th 2016 @ 1:17pm | ! Report

                I’ve gone all teary…

          • May 6th 2016 @ 12:14pm
            Paul said | May 6th 2016 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

            Topping the Aus draw is a big ask. And topping it is necessary for finals. There won’t be 2 teams involved in the pointy end this year that much is virtually guaranteed.

            Direct comparison between the Brumbies run and the Tahs run

            Tahs play Crusaders at home and Brumbies have a bye. Nobody is realistically getting points. (Side note, Crusaders have shocked me this year, I thought they might be the weakest NZ team). Both play Bulls, Sunwolves and Blues. But the Tahs face Chiefs and Hurricanes while Brumbies play Force and Reds.

            So baring something drastic, the odds are against the Tahs.

            • May 6th 2016 @ 1:50pm
              wolfmann said | May 6th 2016 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

              that would all be true but for one fact.

              the tahs are a better side and will win more games by the seasons end.

              • May 6th 2016 @ 2:48pm
                Paul said | May 6th 2016 @ 2:48pm | ! Report

                Being better than the Brumbies is no longer enough. They have to beat the Hurricanes and Chiefs by more than the Brumbies beat the Force and Reds.

                And even this Tah supporter can see that they are not that good yet.

              • May 6th 2016 @ 3:05pm
                wolfmann said | May 6th 2016 @ 3:05pm | ! Report

                The waratahs beat both the Hurricanes and the Chiefs the last time they played them, both away from home.

        • Roar Guru

          May 6th 2016 @ 12:10pm
          PeterK said | May 6th 2016 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

          twas – Agree.

          I am one of the few tah fans who realistically thinks the brumbies should win the oz conference from here, which I have posted elsewhere previously.

          They have a significantly easier draw having played more top teams.

          I have thought the rebels way over rated since they have not beaten any high placed teams.

          The same with the tahs. They have had 1 good win against a top team.

          They had a narrow loss to the highlanders.

          A very big question mark is how they go against chiefs, crusaders , canes and blues.

          • Roar Guru

            May 6th 2016 @ 12:36pm
            Machooka said | May 6th 2016 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

            No PeterK… I’m also one that says the Tahs were pretty much shot this season, and on recent form da Brums should go the distance to top the Aussie Conf.

            But now I’m not quite sure… and as Brett and others have alluded to there’s been ‘a rapid rise’ in the Tahs over the last few weeks. Fair to say… the opposite in da Brums.

            What I do know is that if the Tahs beat the Tahs (so good MrRobC), and da Brums lose to the Bulls… it’s game on!

            TWAS… you’re so yesterday’s man, my man 🙂

            • May 6th 2016 @ 2:30pm
              Cynical Play said | May 6th 2016 @ 2:30pm | ! Report

              ..and I.

              But next year… LOOK OUT !! (and if not, the year after..)

              • May 6th 2016 @ 2:33pm
                Cynical Play said | May 6th 2016 @ 2:33pm | ! Report

                on another note… I just saw in SMH that Mark Ella is recruited to help Eddie Jones as attack coach for the june series WTF !! Is nothing sacred?!? Next Billy Pulver will show the Poms his secret handshake.

                Why couldn’t they sign Richard Graham??!!

              • May 6th 2016 @ 2:39pm
                Paul said | May 6th 2016 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

                It’s Glen Ella, not Mark

              • May 6th 2016 @ 3:18pm
                Cynical Play said | May 6th 2016 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

                Paul, that’s alright then!

    • Roar Guru

      May 6th 2016 @ 1:15pm
      ThugbyFan said | May 6th 2016 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

      Some nice points in the article Daniel, enjoyable reading. I’m warming to D.Gibson and Cam Blades much more now than after the Rebels game, finally the Tahs are playing consistent in-your-face rugby. I too am a fan of the mighty Tahs, but sadly I think that even with extra points from the game in hand, the Tahs will rock up 2nd in the Aussie conference and miss out of the finals its up to them to prove me wrong. The Ponies have got a much easier draw from here on in, and with the backroom drama finished and a couple of gun players to soon return, they should easily win the Aus conference and it wouldn’t surprise to see them go deep into the finals.

      Compare that to the Tahs who have to face tough matches against the Crusaders, Chiefs and the Hurricanes; I expect even the Bulls and Blues to be a difficult matches. To be sure, the game against SunnyWolves will be an insane experience for the guys, Tokyo is one of the best cities in the world with a multitude of distractions. Add in the July heat and humidity and even that game won’t be a shoo-in. The next two matches will give us all a better indication; was the last two weeks the pinnacle for the year and its downwards from now on or are the Tahs really on a roll akin to 2014. Time will tell.

      Its great to see TPN return to the fray, now just need Jack Dempsey back and I think that’s about the Tahs best 15 on the paddock. And that is the story, the Tahs just don’t have the cattle to win the SR. Am not clued in as to who was available and what money was around at the time, but would you agree that the Tahs present woes is more from lean recruitment over the last 3-4 years than the change of coach and loss of Super Mario? In that time 3 key forwards announced they were leaving (K.Douglas, JackPot, S.Kepu) and soon leaving (D.Dennis and W.Palu) yet only Jackpot and W.Palu have been adequately replaced (J.Dempsey & J.Holloway). D.Mumm is a good lineout exponent but needs more dog in him around the park. Perhaps J.Holloway was seen as the K.Douglas replacement as he is listed as a lock on the Tahs website. As for front row, I cannot understand why the Tahs didn’t make a play for the brothers Michael and Alan Alaalatoa. Invest in the future, they both have potential.

      • Roar Guru

        May 6th 2016 @ 1:36pm
        ThugbyFan said | May 6th 2016 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

        That crap home loss against the Rebels cost the Tahs any chance for 2016. But as Machooka and cs say above, lets go back to the 2014 slogan, BELIEVE.

        • May 6th 2016 @ 4:57pm
          Jameswm said | May 6th 2016 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

          Yeah that was a killer. The Tahs were so clearly superior but conspired to beat themselves.

          They have a tough draw from here on in but who knows? You have to back yourself and, as the saying goes, take it one week at a time.

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