Hayne at sixes and sevens in rugby’s short form

Andrew Logan Columnist

By Andrew Logan, Andrew Logan is a Roar Expert

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    I have to apologise in advance for cracking and putting pen to paper on the subject of Jarryd Hayne. I’d understand if my car was egged by irate citizens.

    Clearly we both believe that the subject doesn’t need any more airtime.

    The community at large certainly appears to share that view. The sentiment was hilariously captured by “Dyl Anderson” who opined on Facebook… “Sick of hearing about this bloke – just pick a sport and play it ya flog”. Yep.

    In addition, I’ve been having a running Hayne-debate for some five days with a friend (who can at least lay claim to some expertise, having played both senior league and representative union in his youth), so believe me, I have as much Hayne-fatigue as anyone.

    My mate and I represent the two audiences of the Hayne story – the side that feels a growing sense of unease at Hayne’s presumption that for his next trick, he might just duck out and pick up an Olympic medal – and those who couldn’t care less and are willing him to succeed. The second camp are motivated in part because it would give a whiff of substance to the outdated but cherished idea among league supporters that league players are inherently superior athletes.

    Whatever your position on that spectrum, it can’t be ignored that if Jarryd Hayne wasn’t Jarryd Hayne and was perhaps, say, an anonymous player that we’ll call Joni Vulagi, then he would have gone completely unnoticed at the London Sevens. Except of course for perhaps being critiqued by commentators for some loose offloads, generally untidy work at the ruck and tackle, and the concession of a couple of ham-fisted penalties.

    Expert sevens watchers would have immediately picked Joni Vulagi as one of the most likely players to be cut by Fiji coach Ben Ryan before the Rio Olympics, because he wasn’t very good. Unfortunately Joni Vulagi isn’t a global sporting oddity copping miles of column inches. Jarryd Hayne is.

    It is this fractured perception which has urgers and sports channels celebrating Hayne’s chase and ankle tap against France, while the bemused realists wrestled with the uncomfortable observation that it was Hayne’s own mistake in not tying up the ball at the previous tackle when the referee called “maul”, that meant he had to make the chase in the first place, instead of Fiji getting a scrum.

    My Hayne-fan mate airily dismissed this plain truth in much the same way that a Trump voter dismisses the cost of the US/Mexico wall. “He’ll learn” he said “Sevens isn’t that complicated”. Neither is the presidency apparently.

    The “he’ll-learn” response brings to mind the fantastic scene out of Moneyball when Billy Beane and Ron Washington go to sign baseballer Scott Hatteberg to a new contract at his house.

    Sitting in his loungeroom, catcher Hatteberg is taken aback when Beane tells him they want him at first base. Hatteberg has never played first base. Beane makes light of it, saying “It’s not that hard Scott. Tell him Wash”.

    Washington looks at Hatteberg and says bluntly, “It’s incredibly hard”.

    So is sevens.

    Hayne is an amazing athlete, no doubt, but even if we disregard the fact that pretty much every sevens team has a Hayne, and some have two or three, we must realise that it isn’t a lack of athleticism which gets him into trouble, and so a surfeit of athleticism won’t get him out of it.

    Hayne has three obvious problems in sevens.

    The first is his awkward shape in the tackle both as tackler and tacklee. When being tackled, he struggles to protect the ball effectively without blatantly lying on it or hanging on on the ground. It is the first time he has ever played a game where there is a continuous contest for the ball and it shows. As a result, he prefers to offload and not get caught, but since he hasn’t yet learned when to go into contact, his offloads are sketchy.

    As the tackler, the only thing he appears to be sure of is that he can hold the player as long as he wants when they’re both standing up. Once the play goes to ground it’s a lottery because the laws are complex and the interpretations and instincts can’t be learned in a few weeks. His dive over the ruck to flop on a ball at the Australian side was an elementary error, as was his penalty for not releasing the tackled player. These errors won’t get any better under fatigue and pressure.

    Hayne’s second problem is partly fitness related and partly just a lack of game savvy, and it is that he plays very flat at the gain line. Sevens is akin to soccer in the sense that it is often played backwards. Watch a game and look at how often the play will regress fifteen or twenty metres before starting forward again. Experienced sevens players know that a large part of their many kilometres of running is just working back onside to stay in the game.

    Playing flat, as Hayne does, means that the ball easily gets behind him and he is then out of the game until he regains his depth. A sevens player can’t be reactive here. They need to anticipate the need for depth, so that they can be there before the play unfolds. Chasing depth and chasing the game as Hayne has done so far is tiring and ineffective.

    Finally, in a game with a continuous contest for the ball and with scarce support resources, decisions on when to attack the line are critical. A player taking a ball into contact without breaking the line immediately puts pressure on his team to drive into the ruck to support him, or risk a turnover. Obviously, the more players in the ruck, the less there are to attack, or defend in the event that the ball is lost.

    There are several examples, but against Wales, Hayne elected to take on three defenders in a jinking run into traffic resulting in a loose offload, when he would have been better looking to pass to space. Against France, he looped flat around his own player and allowed an intercept, when a more experienced player would have passed and then dropped into the pocket to take a safe pass and restart play away from the sideline.

    These are all moments, fleeting seconds that escape the casual observer, but that nonetheless determine matches, especially tight ones against top sides at one-chance knockouts like the Olympics.

    Hayne will learn of course, but he has no time. No time to learn the subtleties, and no time to get to the fitness levels required. Fitness is as much about rest as it is about work, and the extremes of workload that Hayne will need to go through to get to parity with the rest of the squad, will risk injury and breakdown.

    Sonny Bill Williams, himself a full-time sevens player with the New Zealand sevens team said of sevens fitness training “I thought my days in rugby league were tough. But the first day here we did a beep test followed by an hour or more of fitness games and running. In league we didn’t do much after a beep test. Here I couldn’t get out of a jog after 20 minutes.”

    As a final thought, I can’t escape the lack of respect that permeates the whole Hayne approach. So very Gen-Y of him, to just turn up and do what he wants to do. It’s one thing to ignore the naysayers when you’re chasing a genuine dream. It’s another to ignore pretty much everyone as you jump the shark deep into narcissism.

    Anyway, whatever. I’m at peak-Hayne. Just pick a sport and play it ya flog.

    Andrew Logan
    Andrew Logan

    Andrew Logan has played rugby for over 25 years. A contributor to The Roar since its inception, he also writes for Inside Rugby magazine, and Super Rugby and international match day programs. A regular panellist on ABC Grandstand discussing rugby and other sports, Andrew has appeared on ABC's The Drum and also Sky Sportsline. He has convened and managed several touring sides including the Australian Rugby Sevens team on the IRB circuit, and the Australian Barbarians XV.

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    The Crowd Says (182)

    • May 24th 2016 @ 6:05am
      Cynical Play said | May 24th 2016 @ 6:05am | ! Report

      Andrew, I try not to click the Hayne baits these days, so over it as I am. But you always are worth reading.

      I try not to have an opinion on Hayne and the 7s because it is so obvious he has no chance. I think he has become a little arrogant, as he was humble in the NFL crusade (I think Hayne sees these challenges as ‘crusades’). He has not even half the skills for 7s and, as you say, no time to learn them.

      Note to Editors, I announce my retirement – from clicking the Hayne bait.

    • May 24th 2016 @ 6:29am
      soapit said | May 24th 2016 @ 6:29am | ! Report

      “The second camp are motivated in part because it would give a whiff of substance to the outdated but cherished idea among league supporters that league players are inherently superior athletes.”

      andrew its an idea that has been supported by significant amount of fact at least historically. and it cant be denied that there are plenty with the opposite motivation with a desperate need to prove that top league players are not better athletes. suspect your own bias might be preventing acknowledgement of the history on the topic.

      anyway thanks for the write up, good to hear from someone who understands the fine details of the game. im a very casual observer.

      i guess the only point when judging him against someone named jon vulagi is that john vulagi wouldnt be playing his first game and you wouldnt expect as much quick simple improvement from jon by learning basics and gaining fitness so its not as simple as straight decision based on what happened on the field without considering the outside picture. theres a fair bit of ‘potential’ factor to be looked at. if they werent willing to judge him based on this full criteria then they shouldnt have played him in the first place.

      • May 24th 2016 @ 6:52am
        soapit said | May 24th 2016 @ 6:52am | ! Report

        for the record i note that you are in fact saying its outdated rendering history aspects irrelevant. i do think its not completely consigned to history (see ben teo) and the very fact you felt you needed to make the qualifier for others opinions shows a bias of your own but my original comment wasnt fair. should/think read more carefully first thing in the morning.

        anyway like to say again although it may be seen as too much on the topic this article is the first to really get into knowledgeable detail and really does add significantly to the discussion even at this late stage so thanks

        • May 24th 2016 @ 8:03am
          Kit Walker said | May 24th 2016 @ 8:03am | ! Report

          Oh my god. This one code has better athletes than the other is a joke. You use Ben Teo as an example. What if Teo is just a very good footballer? He spent a few years learning the game before getting picked. Good on him. Why don’t we look at how many current nrl stars are former Australian rugby schoolboy representatives? Half of these blokes probably played both in their youth. Many of them were probably pretty good at both as well as afl and cricket. Isn’t it just likely that many of them end up in league because there is 16 teams as opposed to 5 in pro rugby in aus? They are all excellent athletes. End of story. If we want to argue about who the best athletes in Australia are we should be looking at the surf life saving!

          • May 24th 2016 @ 8:35am
            soapit said | May 24th 2016 @ 8:35am | ! Report

            yep, very good footballer. not good enough for the kangaroos and good enough for england.

            yep lots probably played rugby when they were young. most often of those who had the option the best still ended up in league in oz.

            but then again you stated an opinion and said “end of story” so thats worth considering.

            • May 24th 2016 @ 9:17am
              In Brief said | May 24th 2016 @ 9:17am | ! Report

              You can’t use Ben Teo as an example to prove league players are better athletes. Cause then you’d have to look at Sisa Waqa playing park football for Gordon, straight to first grade NRL, or Warea Hargreaves, who I watched play in the NRC at North Sydney Oval, barely known before going on to be one of the hard men of league. There are many examples, including a few current Fijian wingers and Andrew Walker who went from Randwick to NRL as a 17 year old (having played first grade at Randwick admittedly).

              • May 24th 2016 @ 10:43am
                soapit said | May 24th 2016 @ 10:43am | ! Report

                sisa waqa was offered a brumbies contract but the ARU canned it because he wasnt eligible for the wallabies. he’s never been looked at for rep honours in league as far as im aware.

                jwh was signed by league straight out of school so not really able to get an indication of how he went in rugby tho he was in the waratahs academy and oz rep teams. are you sure he played ARC (i assume you mean)? cant find details of him playing there.

                neither are really good examples of a player giving rugby a decent shot but doing better in league (same with walker). cant really comment on your other guys without names.

              • May 24th 2016 @ 12:21pm
                Bakkies said | May 24th 2016 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

                Warea Hargreaves did play in the ARC and there were question marks over why he didn’t get a contract. Ben Alexander was offered a deal with the Brumbies with the first year being in the Academy the Tarts could have done that.

              • May 24th 2016 @ 1:04pm
                soapit said | May 24th 2016 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

                fair enough, genuine question, couldnt find any reference to it from a quick search.

            • May 24th 2016 @ 12:19pm
              Bakkies said | May 24th 2016 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

              Te’o is playing in his right position in real Rugby. In loig a lot of these players are wasted by being put in to the forwards doing hit up after hit up off ten paces.

              • May 24th 2016 @ 7:49pm
                nerval said | May 24th 2016 @ 7:49pm | ! Report

                If onion is “real” rugby, league must be “unreal” rugby eh Bakkies?

            • May 24th 2016 @ 12:55pm
              ClarkeG said | May 24th 2016 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

              I know very little of Ben Te’o to be honest but you said he was not good enough for the Kangaroos. Did he get an opportunity?

              There must be many many players around the world in rugby union that did not – or will not – get selected to represent their countries but if they had been, would have been successful.

              • May 24th 2016 @ 1:06pm
                soapit said | May 24th 2016 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

                sorry clarke he had an opportunity to be selected but didnt achieve it. he may have done if picked well but was never judged to be likely to do better than the other options at the time.

                hope that answers your question

              • May 24th 2016 @ 1:59pm
                ClarkeG said | May 24th 2016 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

                So he did not get an opportunity to prove he was good enough because he was never selected.

                Yes I think you got my point soapit.

              • May 24th 2016 @ 4:01pm
                soapit said | May 24th 2016 @ 4:01pm | ! Report

                you have a basic misunderstanding of how selection in the australian league side works. you only get picked after they feel you have proved yourself good enough for the chance. then you can prove yourself again when you play. they have depth that you dont get a look in unless they feel ur good enough.

                teo clearly didnt get past that first test.

                its a silly point to be trying to make that we dont know if he was good enough because he wasnt good enough to be picked to find out and it doesnt change the fact of him not managing it in league but managing it quickly in rugby.

              • May 24th 2016 @ 5:30pm
                ClarkeG said | May 24th 2016 @ 5:30pm | ! Report

                Oh please! – the selection methods of the Australian league team are irrelevant to this discussion – talk about diversion.

                You said that the idea that “league players are inherently superior athletes” is supported by much fact. I asked what is the definition of superior athlete.

                The only fact you seem to be relying on in justifying this is that a rugby league player didn’t get selected for Australia rugby league yet he has been selected to represent England at rugby.

                Really – is that it? It’s purely a matter of selection?

                Mathew Ridge – not considered good enough to be selected for a test for NZ Rugby as an amateur player. Had never played a game of rugby league yet walked straight into ARL and 6 games later (very quickly) good enough to be selected to play a test for NZ League.

                So using your logic I’m just trying to do the maths on that one …? Yeah … nahh …dunno.

              • May 24th 2016 @ 5:54pm
                soapit said | May 24th 2016 @ 5:54pm | ! Report

                clarke the whole discussion is based around his being selected for a higher level in rugby than league. would have thought the significance of his non selection in the league national team would have been self evident. thats as far as i got sorry. ive spent enough time on this this and if even this simple issue is a point for argument with you we are heading backwards. i can only hope you are just being intentionally obtuse.

              • May 24th 2016 @ 6:05pm
                Birdy said | May 24th 2016 @ 6:05pm | ! Report

                I had one of these discussions with Clark a few weeks ago. I found a new appreciation for alcohol .
                Sorry Clark just having a google.
                ( sorry giggle )

              • May 24th 2016 @ 7:30pm
                ClarkeG said | May 24th 2016 @ 7:30pm | ! Report

                Soapit I thought we had left it yet you come back with a snide remark towards me.

              • May 24th 2016 @ 7:33pm
                ClarkeG said | May 24th 2016 @ 7:33pm | ! Report

                The alcohol Birdy… well there you go…that explains a lot. 🙂 Coffee works for me.

                But seriously if posters make wide reaching generalised exaggerated statements in a public forum without being able to substantiate them and don’t like them being questioned or debated… then I have a really really good idea …don’t write them in said public forum and go read the Womens Weekly.

              • May 25th 2016 @ 7:00am
                soapit said | May 25th 2016 @ 7:00am | ! Report

                yes birdy its a bit like entering the twilight zone

              • May 25th 2016 @ 11:11am
                ClarkeG said | May 25th 2016 @ 11:11am | ! Report

                I’m not sure you were not already there. 🙂

            • May 24th 2016 @ 7:23pm
              Rebel said | May 24th 2016 @ 7:23pm | ! Report

              Not good enough for the Kangaroos, the best league side in 5he world, but good enough for a side that didn’t make it past the pool stages of a world cup.
              You are not really comparing apples with apples are you. Pretty much making Teo the test case is a bit flawed.

              • May 25th 2016 @ 6:59am
                soapit said | May 25th 2016 @ 6:59am | ! Report

                see other responses.

              • May 25th 2016 @ 5:24pm
                Rebel said | May 25th 2016 @ 5:24pm | ! Report

                Seen and irrelevant. Teo is a fawed case, you are wr-wr-wr-wrong.
                In fact do a search on dual internationals and before 95 they were all union to league. After 95 it was the other way. Wonder what happened in 95. Maybe for 90 years union produced superior athletes, despite being amature. Or maybe, just maybe there are no superior athletes. Maybe the best athletes from their region just excell at their chosen sport. Then again you can only come to this conclusion if you have an open mind.

              • May 25th 2016 @ 11:13am
                ClarkeG said | May 25th 2016 @ 11:13am | ! Report

                see your original comment.

              • May 25th 2016 @ 5:34pm
                ClarkeG said | May 25th 2016 @ 5:34pm | ! Report

                careful Rebel – you will be told you’re being “obtuse”

              • May 25th 2016 @ 6:43pm
                soapit said | May 25th 2016 @ 6:43pm | ! Report

                rebel the proportion of those crossing over to those who made it to the top is much higher going one way than the other.

                flawed logic is much more important than an open mind to reach that conclusion.

              • May 25th 2016 @ 9:34pm
                Fboy said | May 25th 2016 @ 9:34pm | ! Report

                Soapit, your comparison is flawed to begin with. You base it upon who has made it to the top and I presume by that you mean test caps in either code

                Last year there were 49 Union test matches between the 6n/4n sides. Rugby league had only 4 tests. If you want to start counting the smaller nation test caps the gap becomes even bigger. With over ten times the number of test caps available of course there will be more opportunities in test match Union.

                Even ignoring this false comparison you make, Samoa are the 4th ranked league team in the world at the moment. England are 4th ranked in Union. So given Teo has played a league test for Samoa has he not made it to the top of league? Or do you concede test rugby league is a joke? In which case why do you consider it a measure of the quality of the athlete.

              • May 26th 2016 @ 4:34am
                soapit said | May 26th 2016 @ 4:34am | ! Report

                generally its not conisdred much of a joke for the nz england and oz in league. there is a clear divide below those team to teams including samoa where they are usually a second option for players who miss out on the other three. i dont care about these things enough to describe it as a joke tho, they all have a connection to the team (ive long been in favour of rugby going back to allowing more than one country to be represented – under circumstances)

                regardless, its not really about the quality of the game that it payed which is pretty difficult to compare across 2 sports, its more about how difficult it is to be selected in the first place. see the reponses to rebel below for more.

              • May 27th 2016 @ 5:08am
                Fboy said | May 27th 2016 @ 5:08am | ! Report

                Interesting soapit so we should exclude test league beyond three nations as a test of superior athletes.

                So given your test of superior athleticism is based on caps at the top level does this mean that quade cooper is the equal of Darren Lockyer and better than Thurston for example?

                IE are you beginning to understand the absolute limitations of test rugby league given the game is so small that very few caps are given?

              • May 26th 2016 @ 4:41am
                soapit said | May 26th 2016 @ 4:41am | ! Report

                make that they all have the necessary connection to the team (edit window closed)

              • May 26th 2016 @ 4:43am
                soapit said | May 26th 2016 @ 4:43am | ! Report

                oh and a straight comparison of 4th vs 4th doesnt really work considering the size of the games does it. plus the test teo played for samoa was in a 9th place playoff in the wc which they won so even if it did work itd have to be 9th vs 4th (scotland are currently 9th in rugby fyi)

                and dont forget teo was sounded out for the wallabies as well so i wouldnt be too comforted by it regardless

              • May 27th 2016 @ 5:10am
                Fboy said | May 27th 2016 @ 5:10am | ! Report

                Soapit you do know that Teo was named in a kangaroos squad but not a test side don’t you?

                Whereas he clearly would never make the all blacks thus declaring his eligibility for the 4th best side in rugby union (ranked 8 or 9 prior to 6n)

        • May 24th 2016 @ 12:46pm
          ClarkeG said | May 24th 2016 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

          Ok so lets narrow the question down. What makes Ben Te’o a superior athlete.

          • May 24th 2016 @ 1:09pm
            soapit said | May 24th 2016 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

            you’ll have to ask eddie jones that. he picked him.

          • May 24th 2016 @ 2:05pm
            ClarkeG said | May 24th 2016 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

            Well no I was asking you. You made the statement and used Te’o as an example.

            • May 24th 2016 @ 3:57pm
              soapit said | May 24th 2016 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

              i made the statement based on the simple fact of him already moving to a higher level in rugby than he achieved in 8 years in league. you’ll have to ask eddie what he saw in teo that facilitated that.

              • May 24th 2016 @ 4:55pm
                Bakkies said | May 24th 2016 @ 4:55pm | ! Report

                He is playing in a position that allows to use his skillset

              • May 24th 2016 @ 5:37pm
                ClarkeG said | May 24th 2016 @ 5:37pm | ! Report

                Talk about passing the buck – Eddie didn’t say it. You did.

              • May 24th 2016 @ 5:57pm
                soapit said | May 24th 2016 @ 5:57pm | ! Report

                and i said it again clarke. theres no more i can add for you.

              • May 24th 2016 @ 7:30pm
                Rebel said | May 24th 2016 @ 7:30pm | ! Report

                Teo played a test for Samoa in league so he has reached the same level in both codes.
                Again Teo is a flawed test case for this supposed superior athlete.

              • May 25th 2016 @ 6:53am
                soapit said | May 25th 2016 @ 6:53am | ! Report

                you reckon samoa in league is the same level as england in rugby? i guess international league isnt doing as badly as people say then

              • May 25th 2016 @ 5:18pm
                Rebel said | May 25th 2016 @ 5:18pm | ! Report

                No, but Qld is. Do you consider England in rugby to be the same level as Aus in league.
                Dig up.

              • May 25th 2016 @ 6:47pm
                soapit said | May 25th 2016 @ 6:47pm | ! Report

                i would say that competition for places in a rugby nation the size of england is at least about the same as it is for league in oz

                1 team from 2 million registered players vs1 team from half a million yet one was easier to make than the other

              • May 25th 2016 @ 7:43pm
                soapit said | May 25th 2016 @ 7:43pm | ! Report

                scratch those numbers thats total players all ages (checked while trying to ignore screaming kids in background in my defence)

                sorted now. numbers are 140k male seniors eng rugby vs 50k oz league for “adults” (not clear if this is just mens but seems womens participation is around 5% so factor this in if you like).

              • May 25th 2016 @ 7:52pm
                soapit said | May 25th 2016 @ 7:52pm | ! Report

                second go after inital random moderation:

                scratch those numbers thats total players all ages

                sorted now. numbers are 140k male seniors eng rugby vs 50k oz league for “adults” (not clear if this is just mens but seems womens participation is around 5% so factor this in if you like).

              • May 25th 2016 @ 8:09pm
                soapit said | May 25th 2016 @ 8:09pm | ! Report

                actually just thought of a way to make things more palatable to you. NZ have 27k senior males in rugby compared to englands 140k. if a player tries for 8 years to become an all black and cant but then moves to england and is picked in his third season for their team (even ignoring the whole learning a new game thing) would you accept that that indicated nz had the better athletes within their system?

                only fair to warn you tho. although i havent included league in my example based on what has gone before your answer may imply that it is better than rugby in some way.

              • May 25th 2016 @ 8:30pm
                timber said | May 25th 2016 @ 8:30pm | ! Report

                Well using the same flawed logic, how is that the greatest athlete in League today, Sam Burgess, couldn’t make an impact in rugby?
                The reality is that they are different games that suit different athletes and skill sets.
                Some can excel in the transition because they happen to be better suited to their new sport and some fail because they’re not.
                However as a general rule League does excel in producing a certain type of athlete – explosive, quick over the 1st 10m but not necessarily super fast, around 100kg and powerfully built. This type tends to transition well into rugby’s midfield – SBW, Te’o.
                League does this well because it’s a fairly one-dimensional sport and this type makes up 90% of its players. Every League skill set is only a subset of the Rugby skill set which is why every League athlete will find a home in rugby (however limited) but not every Rugby athlete will succeed in League. Guys like McCaw, Pocock, Owen Franks, Sam Whitelock and Conrad would make average League players because what they excelled at in Rugby doesn’t exist in League.

              • May 25th 2016 @ 9:40pm
                soapit said | May 25th 2016 @ 9:40pm | ! Report

                first you make 2 basic errors.

                1. burgess isnt the greatest athlete in league
                2. he made enough impact to gain selection for england. after learning two positions. over less than a year.

                i agree tho that those players wouldnt do well in league at least for a while (tho the backrowers could be arguable and conrads skills should translate theoretically). like any league player coming the other way tho they could take the time to learn and adjust to overcome this. regardless the fact them having an excuse for being able to succeed in only 1 game doesnt really count against the league guys being able to succeed in both.

        • Roar Rookie

          May 24th 2016 @ 3:36pm
          Shane D said | May 24th 2016 @ 3:36pm | ! Report

          Being a good athlete does not make you a good football player automatically. From league think about Darren Clarke, probably one of the best athletes Australia has produced but not much crack as a footballer.

      • Roar Guru

        May 24th 2016 @ 8:26am
        Wal said | May 24th 2016 @ 8:26am | ! Report

        Yoyo/Beep tests hold no bias in measuring athletic ability and the better results from both codes would show little or no difference

        Bronco Hooker Andrew McCullough holds the record with 22 for their club
        Sam Thaiday and 18.5 is also pretty impressive.

        New Zealand 7s player Frank Halai is about 110kgs and ran a 14 in a beep test at just 23 years old. Similar to a 20+ Yoyo without rest.
        Taranaki’s Kylem O’Donnell reached an amazing 15.6, the highest coach Tietjens had seen in an NZ sevens camp
        Or Richie McCaws 19.2 in a yoyo
        The Aussie Sevens player Yoyo Record isTom Cusack @ 21.6

        • May 24th 2016 @ 10:39am
          ads2600 said | May 24th 2016 @ 10:39am | ! Report

          Let’s not forget Jon Preston, of Wellington, Hurricanes & All Black fame. I can remember vaguely hearing, that he is the only New Zealand rugby player to ever complete the “beep test”.

          • May 24th 2016 @ 1:04pm
            ClarkeG said | May 24th 2016 @ 1:04pm | ! Report

            and Canterbury and working quietly behind the scenes at the Highlanders.

      • May 24th 2016 @ 12:42pm
        ClarkeG said | May 24th 2016 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

        I’m sure you could produce those facts if I asked – and you would probably come up with a long list of names including one Sam Burgess – but what I’m more interested in knowing – its a serious question – is what is the definition of “superior athlete”. What makes an athlete superior to those athletes playing another sport.

        I think its quite hard to define because there are so many variables to be considered.

        • May 24th 2016 @ 1:09pm
          soapit said | May 24th 2016 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

          selection over the alternatives is the criteria i generally use.

          • May 24th 2016 @ 2:10pm
            ClarkeG said | May 24th 2016 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

            The question had little to do with selection.

            • May 24th 2016 @ 4:04pm
              soapit said | May 24th 2016 @ 4:04pm | ! Report

              your question was how i define a superior athlete in this discussion. pretty sure i get to decide what has or hasnt got anything to do with my answer to that.

              • May 24th 2016 @ 4:44pm
                ClarkeG said | May 24th 2016 @ 4:44pm | ! Report

                Well yes of course you get to choose how you answer however you conveniently interpreted the question to mean something it is not.

                Of all the possible variables you might have come up with you could only arrive at “selection”. Mmm… ok.

                Doesn’t really answer the question. As I said quite hard to define.

              • May 24th 2016 @ 5:02pm
                soapit said | May 24th 2016 @ 5:02pm | ! Report

                yes hard to define and multi faceted but at the end of the day selectors take it all into account and make their choice. that is why its the best and least subjective way to assess who is better

                if you want to get caught up in definitions of athleticism outside of simply being the better player you are moving away from the point via a fairly pointless line of discussion imo so ill leave you with it.

              • May 24th 2016 @ 5:48pm
                ClarkeG said | May 24th 2016 @ 5:48pm | ! Report

                And the translation is —– No I can not define it.

                “moving away from the point” – gee whiz.

                You made a statement and following that I asked a perfectly relevant question which apparently you are unable to answer with any substance.

                I’m happy to leave it there as well.

              • May 24th 2016 @ 5:59pm
                soapit said | May 24th 2016 @ 5:59pm | ! Report

                clarke i really have nothing more to offer you on the topic, im not going to search for yet another way to say the same thing or discuss the next random minutia you decide to focus on . i can live with you feeling that what i have given you on it lacks substance.

              • Roar Guru

                May 24th 2016 @ 6:06pm
                PeterK said | May 24th 2016 @ 6:06pm | ! Report

                soapit – I understand where you are coming from.

                Who is a better player (as opposed to athlete) in the end gets decided by selectors.

                They weigh up all the attributes , skills, performance etc and choose someone.
                This is after extensive review and data available to them that we do not have.

                However the main flaw in this is they select the best player as per the coach’s game plan and against who they are playing (for those rare coaches who select horses for course).

                Does not matter much in rugby lite since the game plans are much of a muchness but it matters a lot more in rugby since there are so many different ways to play rugby.

              • May 24th 2016 @ 7:25pm
                ClarkeG said | May 24th 2016 @ 7:25pm | ! Report

                seems to me soapit you didn’t do much searching at all other than come up with the name Ben Te’o but I thought we had left it.

              • May 24th 2016 @ 7:33pm
                Rebel said | May 24th 2016 @ 7:33pm | ! Report

                Teo is a test player in both codes, a dual international they call them. Plenty of them have come before Teo.

              • May 25th 2016 @ 6:56am
                soapit said | May 25th 2016 @ 6:56am | ! Report

              • May 25th 2016 @ 6:57am
                soapit said | May 25th 2016 @ 6:57am | ! Report

                peter at this point i’ll settle for someone understanding the point.

                yep game plans come into it and yes its not a precise system. if teo gets selected for a period over time tho the potential errors become lower

                rebel do you also consider samoan league to be the equal of england rugby level when you discuss the size of the international games in both sports? generally people dont is all. i dont mind if thats the consensus in which case youd be right but you cant really have it both ways.

              • May 25th 2016 @ 5:29pm
                Rebel said | May 25th 2016 @ 5:29pm | ! Report

                As pointed out before, no, but yes to Qld. You are the one that stipulated it had to be a test side, now it has to be in the top two test sides, despite the fact England failed to make the top 8 in the last RWC. You are changing the criteria to suit your ever failing original claim.
                I’m not the one saying one side is superior, I’m just highlighting your flawed logic in making this claim. As many others have also easily done.

              • Roar Guru

                May 25th 2016 @ 3:07pm
                jeznez said | May 25th 2016 @ 3:07pm | ! Report

                Soap – if Te’o locks down an England centre spot in the long term – will that make him a better athlete than Sam Burgess who either wasn’t able or willing?

                I think a players suitability for the code really needs to be considered. Garrick Morgan is a classic of this – he was one of the best rugby union players in the world but anyone with any understanding of the two codes could have flagged that he would be a failure at league.

                Is he suddenly a dud in both codes? Of course not, he just had a skill set that was excellent for one game and atrocious for the other.

              • May 25th 2016 @ 3:26pm
                cuw said | May 25th 2016 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

                @ jeznez
                Soap – if Te’o locks down an England centre spot in the long term – will that make him a better athlete than Sam Burgess who either wasn’t able or willing?

                not really , but then history will not include footnotes regarding the circumstances. its just like a scorecard – does not really say how a team played even though they won or lost.

                burgess was a mismanaged case. the club thought he was a forward , country thought he was a back. at club he was learning to be a 6 , for country he was supposed to be a center.

                also dont forget he had less time than teo to learn – before being thrust into the center stage. and the fact that his whole union career was in front of flash-lights didnot help.

                until teo was named in the squad , very few people took note of him. only now the english press is doing articles “who is this guy teo”. but in the case of burgess it was like he was ben ainsley joining an america cup team

                we shud also not forget the unfair criticism burgess got from press and people , that he was the cause of england’s early exit in rwc. that really was a poisoned chalice on him.

                imo , he was correct to leave – there was no reason for him to take all that shyt from all and sundry , when all he did was try to do his best. england failed as a whole from top to bottom , he was a mere cog in a big wheel that did not turn.

              • May 25th 2016 @ 4:44pm
                soapit said | May 25th 2016 @ 4:44pm | ! Report

                lets forget the “willing”part for sam and just say he wasnt able to for this. it would make teo a better rugby player jez. that equates to better athleticism as relevant to the game of rugby which is the use of the term thats really relevant to the discussion (he might not beat him in the high jump or snooker).

                i would argue that the aspects of league that garrick was required to have in league and found wanting at would also have been as asset in rugby if he was better at them (running, tackling hard all day and ball skills). i dont hink garrick would be one of the best forwards in the world today without those skills being better than what they were.

                anyway like i said not a perfect system but there is a trend that hasnt shown any signs of halting

              • Roar Guru

                May 25th 2016 @ 7:26pm
                jeznez said | May 25th 2016 @ 7:26pm | ! Report

                I differ – I think it was all about Sam’s will to knuckle down and learn the game. I think he could have been a superb union player if he had been prepared to put in the time.

                As an ‘athlete’ I think regardless of the result he is a superior one to Te’o – and that is based only on what I have seen of Burgess!

                I haven’t seen Te’o play either code but would be shocked if he was a more outstanding athlete than Slammin Sam.

                With regard to Garrick, sure if he was a better ball carrier, runner etc then he would have been an even better player.

                But with regard to your comment on selection – l’equipe selected him as their world player of the year back in 1993. I’d argue that didn’t make him one of the outstanding ‘athletes’ in either code but it did recognise he was a very good rugby player.

              • May 25th 2016 @ 7:38pm
                soapit said | May 25th 2016 @ 7:38pm | ! Report

                rebel we (well many of us) are looking for sensible comparison. i doubt i ever stipulated any particular set criteria for sides (not going to check at this point) beyond what common sense should require to allow this. it should be fairly obvious playing for samoa or qld in is not the highest level of selection on offer to a player in league whereas test level particularly for a first tier nation is the highest level in rugby. teo only reached the highest in one sport.

                if only he’d played for nz or england in league at least then you might have had a point (was he ever considered by them i wonder?).

                im starting to wonder if you yourself are approaching this with an open mind. if i havent convinced you soon i think i’ll give up as im doubting whether im capable.

              • May 25th 2016 @ 8:01pm
                soapit said | May 25th 2016 @ 8:01pm | ! Report

                btw just read a little more on it and teo had all of one test for samoa against france in the 9th place playoff after being overlooked for the ‘live’ group stage games and samoa failing to progress.

                really cant see this as the best foundation to be building an argument on.

              • May 25th 2016 @ 9:47pm
                soapit said | May 25th 2016 @ 9:47pm | ! Report

                jez i obviously lie with cuw on sam’s treatment and reasons but has been discussed many times on here.

                re: teo depends how you define athlete but he i recall him as slightly smaller and more mobile than sam (tho not by much). sam was a backrower/front rower while teo is a backrower who spent some time at centre, so more sbw type (tho offloads not up there with sbw)

              • May 26th 2016 @ 7:09am
                mikeT said | May 26th 2016 @ 7:09am | ! Report

                Soapit your a passionate league fan boy and that’s ok, but all I can say on this matter is what I have seen with my own eyes and that is the best league players of a generation are not the best in rugby union and are regularly bettered by rugby union counterparts. Sailor and tuqiri v joe rocokoko and sivivatu, christian Cullen . Timana tahu v Tana umaga and/or the SA midfield ,Rodgers v carter, folau v ben smith. Who else is there . I cant think of a league player who has crossed over that is better than their AB opposition or other star rugby players from around the world

              • May 26th 2016 @ 8:01am
                soapit said | May 26th 2016 @ 8:01am | ! Report

                mike i understand your need to write my argument (backed up facts) off by describing it as that of a league fanboy.

                however you are wide of the mark. rugby is the game i played and would prefer to watch if made to choose (and assuming good teams are playing). tho i am a longitme follower of league also and am perfectly happy to acknowledge its strengths over the game i played when they are backed up by facts (particularly when it is randomly and unnecessarily alleged that those claimed strengths are not factual – as in this article)

                the evidence of this strength is in trends of selection. individual comparisons dont really contribute much in testing the claim either way. no doubt there will likely be at least one or two players who will be better than those who cross over. in most cases that was the case in league already before they left (not too many cross over when they are the best in their position) and given the much larger size of the game you would expect even if they were “the best at their peak'” leaguies that there would be at least one or two players in the whole of rugby that could match them in the position having the benefit of match experience.

                tho i would quibble that there are at least a couple of converts that have made it to the very top brad thorn and jason robinson off the top of my head.

              • May 26th 2016 @ 4:42pm
                mikeT said | May 26th 2016 @ 4:42pm | ! Report

                Brad thorn played rugby as a youngster in NZ, and arguably would nit be considered the beat lock in the world during his playing days. Jason Robinson was good, but not the best. Cant remember him bettering his AB opposite ever, in fact I remember doug Howlett scorching jim on multiple occasions. So still waiting for the better league “athletes”

              • May 26th 2016 @ 7:04pm
                soapit said | May 26th 2016 @ 7:04pm | ! Report

                i think robinson personally was better than the ab options at the time (and made a few notable world xv’s through the years so perhaps my subjective assessment is no crazier than yours) but as its pretty irrelevant to the argument (as outlined above) im not going to try and convince you or attempt to meet your demands for other unlikely examples as i doubt many exist. i shouldnt have confused things by offering potential examples in the first place.

              • May 27th 2016 @ 6:34am
                mikeT said | May 27th 2016 @ 6:34am | ! Report

                Ok so league players aren’t superior ‘rugby players’ then? Good. Glad we sorted that out…

              • May 26th 2016 @ 8:09pm
                ClarkeG said | May 26th 2016 @ 8:09pm | ! Report

                I’m not saying anything … except you’re placing Robinson ahead of a bunch of quite impressive All Blacks.

    • May 24th 2016 @ 6:56am
      Gurudoright said | May 24th 2016 @ 6:56am | ! Report

      Probably the most spot on article about the whole Hayne-rugby 7’s saga. I have no doubt that Hayne will be an awesome 7’s player once he know the ins and outs of Rugby 7’s like second nature, but he is out of his depth at present.

    • Roar Guru

      May 24th 2016 @ 7:00am
      eagleJack said | May 24th 2016 @ 7:00am | ! Report

      My annoyance with the whole thing is that Hayne has bulked up and looks exceptional right now. He’d fit right back into League and excel. Or if he could have been bothered with the Wallabies, then they would have welcomed him with open arms.

      Yet here he is talking about “shredding” for the next 6 weeks to reduce his weight, become leaner, and improve his fitness.

      But for what? I mean it’s Sevens. Who cares. It’s a bit of fun for those who generally can’t get a Super contract, or aren’t yet ready for professional 15s, or they want to have a different woman on a different continent on a regular basis. Good to tell your mates about. Very little substance. Things have changed slightly recently with a few heroes suddenly realising they had an Olympic “dream” but nevertheless the premise generally remains the same.

      Add to that that he is no chance of making it, due to the insanely limited amount of time he has given himself, and someone needs to get into his ear and get him out of the place quick smart.

      I fear the respect he has for Fiji, and the Fijian people, as well as the respect they will have afforded someone of his stature, could set him back as he tries to prove himself to perform the near impossible. The Fijian sevens team are on a different planet. I mean if he chose the Aussies, then yeah, he’d probably have a shot. But Fiji are next level.

      Get back to League Jarryd (via Japanese/European rugby). NSW needs you!

      • May 24th 2016 @ 7:26am
        soapit said | May 24th 2016 @ 7:26am | ! Report

        interesting andrew webster on the weekend saying nrl is a long shot to get him back with him being much happier away from the local media.

        • Roar Guru

          May 24th 2016 @ 7:36am
          eagleJack said | May 24th 2016 @ 7:36am | ! Report

          It wouldn’t surprise me soapit. They are pretty brutal when it comes to NRL players, particularly in Sydney.

          But I’m pretty sure he’ll be back in the NRL in 2017. Clubs couldn’t afford him in 2016 with most rosters decided, or atleast wary of signing a star of his calibre given recent events. So he’ll wait for the cap increase, and in the meantime bide his time in Europe but most likely Japanese rugby.

          • May 24th 2016 @ 7:43am
            soapit said | May 24th 2016 @ 7:43am | ! Report

            yeah would have thought so too but webster was pretty adamant

            • May 24th 2016 @ 8:23am
              Ask said | May 24th 2016 @ 8:23am | ! Report

              My first thought was Olympic 7s would put him in the sights of the cashed up euro rugby clubs so I figured that’s what he was angling for rather than coming back to NRL straight away or at all

      • Roar Guru

        May 24th 2016 @ 8:46am
        Wal said | May 24th 2016 @ 8:46am | ! Report

        EJ your opinions on 7’s are about decade out of date.
        When Liam Messam, SBW, are willing to turn down a chance in Black not just Super Rugby then the games move on.
        And this is not just NZ, Brian Habana, Quade Cooper, Nick Cummins, Henry Speight, Juan Imhoff, Lwazi Mvovo and Damian de Allende
        None of whom have outshone the full-time players who as you say can’t even get a Super Rugby contract.

        • Roar Guru

          May 24th 2016 @ 8:59am
          eagleJack said | May 24th 2016 @ 8:59am | ! Report

          Given time they will. They are effectively learning a new game, so it isn’t instant.

          As I said the lure of going to the Olympics has raised the stakes to include more than just the also rans, or those looking to gain a taste of professionalism before picking up a contract elsewhere.

          Would SBW or Messam really be there if not for the Olympics?

        • May 24th 2016 @ 10:10am
          Hoqni said | May 24th 2016 @ 10:10am | ! Report

          But we know if Quade Cooper were there for Oz, maybe Oz will not be playing Bowl

      • May 24th 2016 @ 12:23pm
        Bakkies said | May 24th 2016 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

        Hayne lacks movement for Rugby. He got turned badly and needs to learn how to defend. I know he hasn’t made a tackle in a year but defending in Rugby is a lot different

      • May 24th 2016 @ 1:11pm
        ClarkeG said | May 24th 2016 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

        Eagle turns up for his first training camp with Sir Gordon Tietjens.

        He says “Sir Gordon – I’m just here for a bit of fun”.

        Sir Gordon replies – ” mmm… yeah right”.

        • May 24th 2016 @ 4:11pm
          soapit said | May 24th 2016 @ 4:11pm | ! Report

          ej says, “stop mumbling and look at me when im talking to you gordon”

          • May 24th 2016 @ 7:01pm
            ClarkeG said | May 24th 2016 @ 7:01pm | ! Report


      • Roar Rookie

        May 24th 2016 @ 5:51pm
        Shane D said | May 24th 2016 @ 5:51pm | ! Report

        EJ, with the success of the World Series players are opting to pursue 7’s as their game of choice in NZ. The top 7’s players are remunerated as well as the super rugby contracted players.

    • May 24th 2016 @ 7:00am
      Onside said | May 24th 2016 @ 7:00am | ! Report

      Enjoyable analysis. As an observation, the one word missing from the article was instinct.

      Hayne lacks instinct. In most sports, if a player has to think about something, it’s too late.

    • Roar Rookie

      May 24th 2016 @ 7:01am
      Huw Tindall said | May 24th 2016 @ 7:01am | ! Report

      Bloody good article until the dig at Gen-Y at the end! Blame Fiji Rugby for giving him a shot but don’t blame the man for wanting to try. They could have said no. He turned up and did what he wanted only because they let him.

      • May 24th 2016 @ 10:12am
        Boris said | May 24th 2016 @ 10:12am | ! Report

        Yeah Fiji is playing games with the Hayne publicity stunt (assuming that’s what it is) but the Gen Y point may be valid. Gen Y is characterised as being selfish and conceited for a reason and while Jarryd seems like a pretty good bloke it does seem a bit like having your cake and eating it too.

        • May 24th 2016 @ 11:54am
          Markus said | May 24th 2016 @ 11:54am | ! Report

          “Gen Y is characterised as being selfish and conceited for a reason”
          That reason being that people who were once young are now older, and now view all young people as selfish and conceited just the same as the generations preceding them did.

          The more things change, the more they stay the same.

          • May 24th 2016 @ 12:21pm
            Birdy said | May 24th 2016 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

            Love it

          • May 24th 2016 @ 4:46pm
            Boris said | May 24th 2016 @ 4:46pm | ! Report

            That’s right. Those damn kids riding on the footpaths with their skateboards etc!

            I actually scrape into Gen Y for what it’s worth.

        • May 24th 2016 @ 4:09pm
          Common Sense said | May 24th 2016 @ 4:09pm | ! Report

          Why have cake and not eat it? That’s the whole point of having cake.

          • May 24th 2016 @ 4:21pm
            Boris said | May 24th 2016 @ 4:21pm | ! Report

            Can’t argue with that!

          • Roar Guru

            May 25th 2016 @ 3:11pm
            jeznez said | May 25th 2016 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

            Well you can eat it but then you have no more cake.

            (thus the saying)

            I am with you guys, I’ve eaten every slice of cake I have ever had. Hence today I have no cake, still think it was the right choice though!

            • May 25th 2016 @ 7:47pm
              soapit said | May 25th 2016 @ 7:47pm | ! Report

              t\theres been a few pieces where ive eaten the icing edge of the cake but left the rest so this is probably what they meant

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