The England loss had its roots set back in June

Brett McKay Columnist

By Brett McKay, Brett McKay is a Roar Expert

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    Ah, the Wallabies. They giveth, and they taketh away. Often in the same match.

    So it was again, for the fourth time this year, that a chronic lack of a plan B proved their great undoing in the final match of the season. A little over a week ago, a 2016 record of eight wins-seven losses looked very possible, and there’s no doubting Wallabies fans would’ve been thrilled, after the way the year started.

    The sporadic signs of improvement over the back-half of the year would’ve pointed in the right direction with an eight and seven record. Though the Cook and Bledisloe Cups were long gone, the season would’ve finished in much better health than it started.

    Heck, even seven wins-eight losses probably would’ve have been swallowed in time, for much the same reason.

    But six and nine doesn’t quite wash, does it?

    Even with seven of those nine losses coming against England and New Zealand – comfortably the best two teams in the world now – the other two came against South Africa and Ireland, teams that the Wallabies really should be beating if they have designs on the pointy end of the rankings.


    What’s worse, there were opportunities to win both of those games against South Africa and Ireland, and like we’ve seen so often from this current generation of Wallabies, they didn’t have the wits of the wherewithals to close the deal.

    If you weren’t somewhat expecting it by now, you’d probably be more concerned.

    The issues for the Wallabies are many and varied, and probably too numerous to try and fit into one column. Which is probably good, because I have an editor wanting to me to keep writing about rugby through the summer!

    One constant throughout 2016 has been that the Wallabies can make ground and create scoring opportunities against any team in the world. They can even look as sharp as any team in the world as they do it, so long as – and this is the bloody big if – they can get good quality, front-foot ball.

    The other constant is that the problems have always arisen when that front-foot ball doesn’t come.

    All too many times this season, the lack of front-foot ball has led to the Wallabies looking at a deficit on the scoreboard, and from there, the panic has set in.

    The Wallabies are okay as front-runners, but they’re hopeless when they have to chase a game.

    The major issue in this scenario is that the Wallabies’ attacking breakdown presence has been lacking all year.

    It only takes one lazy forward to hit a ruck half a second too slowly to highlight this deficiency, and at times in 2016, the Wallabies have had plenty of lazy forwards on the field.

    Michael Hooper had an enormous game at Twickenham – he was arguably the best Australian player on the field – but there were too many times in which he was the only Wallaby following the carrier to clean out.


    Early on in the game, Hooper followed Israel Folau in support, and it was Hooper’s clean-out that actually forced the ball free for George Ford to toe the ball ahead; Dane Haylett-Petty only just beat Marlon Yarde to force the ball in-goal.

    But where are the other supporting forwards? Where were the trailing forwards to hit the ruck and at least keep the loose ball in Australian hands? And why was Hooper Folau’s only support?

    This is compounded by a lack of go-forward, which until the inclusion of Adam Coleman and Lopeti Timani in the starting XV in the latter part of the year, has become an endemic issue.

    Teams know that if you can knuckle down in defence and restrict the Wallabies’ ability to make ground, the risks will increase, the mistakes will come, and there will be scoring opportunities a-plenty.

    There’s no doubt England won this game because they were the better team, but they were the better team because they could play according to their game plan for longer.

    Despite a surprisingly lacklustre first half an hour, Eddie Jones would’ve drummed into his team all week that they only needed to get themselves into the lead to put the Wallabies under pressure.

    And how did he know this? Because that’s exactly what they did for three weeks this year back in June.

    Establish a lead, fall back into the default defence and breakdown dominance, and wait to capitalise on the inevitable Australian mistakes.

    Hooper and David Pocock did their best, but the Wallabies’ back five forwards were clearly outpointed by their opposite numbers.

    So while it’s true that the Wallabies have shown some very good signs of improvement in some aspects of their game, until they can overcome this complete inability to remain composed when behind on the scoreboard, nothing will change.

    In the long run, maybe the Wallabies will learn this latest lesson handed down by England, but given that nothing was learnt from three consecutive lessons handed out back in June, I’m not holding my breath just yet.

    Brett McKay
    Brett McKay

    Brett McKay is one of The Roar's good news stories and has been a rugby and cricket expert for the site since July 2009. Brett is an international and Super Rugby commentator for ABC Grandstand radio, has commentated on the Australian Under-20s Championships and National Rugby Championship live stream coverage, and has written for magazines and websites in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK. He tweets from @BMcSport.

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    The Crowd Says (295)

    • Roar Guru

      December 6th 2016 @ 7:01am
      Derm McCrum said | December 6th 2016 @ 7:01am | ! Report


      Does silence indicate overwhelming agreement with your assessment, Brett?

      • Roar Guru

        December 6th 2016 @ 7:28am
        stillmissit said | December 6th 2016 @ 7:28am | ! Report

        YEs Poth it is true and the problems are in the forwards, primarily their lack of ability in the breakdown. Ireland showed how poor we are at this critical element. That and our inability to deal with the rush defence and exit our quarter. OH! and our kicking in general play and at goal.

        Some of this has been going on in Australian rugby ever since Eddie Jones was coach when some very strange mantra’s showed up.
        “Scrums are only 5% (or something like this) of the game get it over with. If you come under pressure just face plant”
        “Don’t over commit to the breakdown” ie the D is more important than the breakdown. There were a couple of others but I can’t remember them. A great reliance on stats and little on strategy.

        Jones stated that ‘He gave the Wallabies advice but they did not listen’ in an interview a couple of days ago. I knew one of the coaches at the time and he said that the players in the 2003 semi final against NZ, listened to what he said then threw his ideas out the window and just went for it.

        • December 6th 2016 @ 7:47am
          PiratesRugby said | December 6th 2016 @ 7:47am | ! Report

          Wallabies looked pretty good at the breakdown against France.

          • December 6th 2016 @ 10:34am
            Terry said | December 6th 2016 @ 10:34am | ! Report

            Pocock was immense against the Frogs .We`ll get monstrered there next year without him…

          • Roar Guru

            December 6th 2016 @ 2:12pm
            Fionn said | December 6th 2016 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

            Yeah, Pirates, it is interesting our most impressive match in 2016 (aside from a match against the woeful Welsh) was playing our so-called “B-team”. It was the first time Cheika selected a traditional side, and a side based primarily on talented players who had demonstrated their abilities in Super Rugby in 2016, as opposed to some ‘others’ who make the A-team.

            I think the B-Team against the French would beat our “A-Team” the majority of the time.

            • December 6th 2016 @ 9:41pm
              Nico'larse said | December 6th 2016 @ 9:41pm | ! Report

              I know TPN and he has told me the B’s touch up the A’s regularly at training. So I would say that theory is pretty much confirmed.

          • December 6th 2016 @ 3:31pm
            CUW said | December 6th 2016 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

            @ PiratesRugby

            most probably becoz France also tried to play from Cheika book and put in a 3rd row of three 8s !!

            Kevin Gourdon Charles Ollivon are normally 8s in Top 14.

            it was an interesting strategy considering guys like Wenceslas Lauret fit the more typical openside flanker .

            while the bigger men carried well and dominated lineouts , the more turnover and ball slowing of the 7 was missing.

        • December 6th 2016 @ 8:36am
          Lostintokyo said | December 6th 2016 @ 8:36am | ! Report

          Cheika’s rugby philosophy is to be aggressive at the breakdown and keep ball in hand. One doesn’t work without the other. Team must have thrown Cheika’s breakdown advice out the window.

          • December 6th 2016 @ 12:54pm
            Markus said | December 6th 2016 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

            Perhaps there is more to breakdown effectiveness at Test level than simply chanting Be Aggressive.

            • Roar Rookie

              December 6th 2016 @ 1:23pm
              Pimpernel said | December 6th 2016 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

              Nice “Faith No More” throw away there

          • December 6th 2016 @ 1:23pm
            Terry said | December 6th 2016 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

            Pocock is the best over the ball – securing it, pilfering, or slowing down the opponent’s clearance.

            Hooper is the fastest but weakest of the 4

            McMahon is the most powerful runner in tight and wide by far.( A perfect number 6 )

            Gill is a genuine lineout jumper and is better than Hooper and McMahon at slowing down opposition ball, and equal to McMahon in powerful defence.

            In measuring productivity and effectiveness to the result of a game, Pocock stands above the rest. Gill is the next best. He should have gone to the World Cup.He should be the choice when Pocock takes his break and If he had grown up in Sydney and played for the Waratahs, Michael Hooper would be at the Rebels.

            • Roar Guru

              December 6th 2016 @ 2:16pm
              Fionn said | December 6th 2016 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

              Agree 100%. Gill is the future and, in my mind, could possibly overtake Pocock.

              Letting him go was criminal in my opinion.

            • December 6th 2016 @ 3:45pm
              CUW said | December 6th 2016 @ 3:45pm | ! Report

              in those limited minutes GILL played test rugger , there was nothing obvios that he is a very good 7 at the highest level.

              look , there are so many good 7s in the super rugger level; NZ have dime-a-dozen ; even a few in south africa. but they dont necessarily become good at test level.

              imo, the mistake was not keeping Gill in the national setup , like say Savea now in NZ. to me Savea is weaker in the core 7 role than both Cane and Todd but he is still in the mix and getting minutes here and there to learn at a young age.

              had Auzzy done same with Gill , maybe he would have turned out to be abetter player and maybe the permanent test 7.

              in startegic planning for succession , the mix of the age is very important. u need to have people of different ages with a suitable gap with the eye on future. if all ur options are of a same/ simillar age range, then suddenly u will find all the options are gone and there is noone to take over.

              this is where NZ are planning nicely. Todd is older at 29 but Cane and Savea are more or less 24. so by the time Todd leaves , they can bring in another guy who is like 4 years younger.

              • December 6th 2016 @ 4:39pm
                Charlie Turner said | December 6th 2016 @ 4:39pm | ! Report

                There are a few people out there who have suggested Gill has had his chance and was nothing special. This is grossly unfair, he has played just over 350 minutes of test rugby, all off the bench and his last game was as a 21 year old. He was the standout 7 in the 2016 Australian conference and his contributions off the bench in the tests he has played were solid rather than spectacular although his play in the second Lions test in 2013 was the match winner.

              • Roar Guru

                December 6th 2016 @ 5:39pm
                Fionn said | December 6th 2016 @ 5:39pm | ! Report

                Exactly. You should select based on form – which would have meant Gill. He was tearing it up in a rubbish side.

      • December 6th 2016 @ 10:14am
        Noodles said | December 6th 2016 @ 10:14am | ! Report

        No. not at all. There’s clearly improvement and so on. The real issue is stability and familiarity. The players have yet to become cohesive.
        There’s a clear capacity to play the game cheika wants. Fast, blitzing plays with very strong forward momentum. But it’s effect is to drain energy and create bad errors.
        The big errors against England were one loose ball not claimed and one floating pass into an England intercept try.
        As others have said the missing piece is in the brain.

        • December 6th 2016 @ 3:51pm
          Perthstayer said | December 6th 2016 @ 3:51pm | ! Report

          Noodles – It wasn’t just “one loose ball & floating pass……” that were the errors. The errors ran deeper and were made visible by those two mistakes.

          As Brett says England throttled Australia. Australia had no plan B to break the grip. This led to being mentally drained which in turn led to poor execution.

          Lest we forget Cheika refusing to attend the optional meeting with the ref in the days prior to the match. The man is an arrogant idiot and his team is hamstrung by his naivety and stupidity. Ref was not maliciously biased but we are all only human.

          • Roar Guru

            December 6th 2016 @ 5:28pm
            PeterK said | December 6th 2016 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

            He did attend the meeting though

    • December 6th 2016 @ 7:03am
      Redsback said | December 6th 2016 @ 7:03am | ! Report

      Cheika has been a massive disappointment this year. I understand that he started with guys that he wants to turn to the guys he trusts like, Phipps, Foley, Douglas and Mumm but, to keep this PG and avoid getting moderated, they’re average players at best. The only one that I would have on the bench would be Foley and that would only be to cover Cooper on an extremely bad day.

      Cheika had a plan B sitting on the bench for most of the year in Cooper: he offers a completely different style to Foley. He chose not to use him. Granted, he selected him for France and he pulled out injured, but that having occurred was it sensible to play Foley for 80 mins at 10 against England? At the time – as could be seen during my pleas to that effect during the live commentary – and with the benefit of hindsight – it was clearly not the right call.

      Cheika is currently failing at selections, substitutions and tactics. He seems like a pretty good motivator and people manager – undoubtedly two very important tasks – but doing about 40% of his job well is probably a pretty clear reason as to why we went poorly.

      It’s obviously entirely hypothetical, but I have no doubt our season would have been better if Cooper had been given the opportunities given to Foley. The comments on his erraticism are outdated. There was nothing erratic about his play thia year just as there was nothing particulalrly spectacular about Foley. The annoying thing is that on the Spring tour, Foleybwas regulalry given the type of backline which Cooper needs: full of big runners. Inly he has the game to run that type of backline well in Australia.

      I sincerely hope Cheika adapts next year, that Queensland plays Cooper at 10 in defense so that there are 10 or so rounds for him to show that he is not only a better attacker than Fokey but a better front on defender. Hes also a better goal kicker when you factor in that his range is about 10m longer and he can take tougher kicks.

      Reaching my tolerance limits with Cheika’s selections and substitutions.

      • Roar Guru

        December 6th 2016 @ 7:31am
        stillmissit said | December 6th 2016 @ 7:31am | ! Report

        Redsback said “Cheika is currently failing at selections, substitutions and tactics. He seems like a pretty good motivator and people manager”

        I suspect 90% of the roar must agree with this statement.

        • December 6th 2016 @ 2:18pm
          RugbyLover said | December 6th 2016 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

          Well selections are not all his fault because some such as the selection of Phipps due to the lack of Genia were forced on him.

          It is hard for Foley to look half decent when Phipps is too slow and too short in his passing. The Phipps decision making was awful as well. Not saying Foley was great but with Phipps inside him he had no chance.

          Genia would have made such a huge difference to that team, it may even have been enough to win. I consider the halfback the most important position on the field, not the 10. With a below average halfback it is impossible to win. Show me a team in the last 15 years who have had a poor halfback and won their share of games… does not happen as it is one position that absolutely cannot be carried by other players.

          • December 6th 2016 @ 8:42pm
            Crash Ball2 said | December 6th 2016 @ 8:42pm | ! Report

            Genia’s absence didn’t require Cheika to select Phipps.

            If “lack of test-experienced alternatives” is the retort, that deficiency can quite squarely be attributed to this coach.

      • December 6th 2016 @ 8:07am
        Sir Alfie said | December 6th 2016 @ 8:07am | ! Report

        Yep agree. The Wallabies definitely dont have a Plan B due to how limited Foley’s game is. He has very little creativity, and just as many errors as Cooper.

      • December 6th 2016 @ 8:45am
        Lostintokyo said | December 6th 2016 @ 8:45am | ! Report

        The jury is still out as to whether Cooper still ‘has it’. His Red’s form will be telling in 2017. Also if Cooper is on the paddock, would he be goal kicker? He hasn’t had much pressure practice of late.

        Cooper will have his shot next year. As will a number of fringe players. I think the 5/8 answer lies with someone new who hasn’t arrived yet. Hope he ain’t in nappies.

        • December 6th 2016 @ 9:04am
          Redsback said | December 6th 2016 @ 9:04am | ! Report

          Cooper had. 75% win rate when starting this year at 10, whereas Foley had a 27% success rate. People can talk about England being number 2 all they like, but the fact of the matter is that they are only number 2 because they beat us 4 times. A Cooper-led/Foley@12-hamstrung backline beat 2 RWC semi-finalists from last year at home and Argentina away. We showed more creativity in those games than in any of the games Foley was at 10, except maybe against Wales, which was confortably the worst team we played this year.

          Cheika is extremely lucky his stubborness did not see us knocked out in the QFs by Scotland (Foley had a shocker and should have been replaced at half time or at any one of a number of points where he messed up in that game and nearly single-handedly got us knocked out before being labelled somewhat of a hero for making a kick which you would expect every decent kicker in the world to make). Had that occurred – and let’s be clear that he was extremely lucky it didn’t (as indicated by the omg-I can’t believe that nearly fkn happened face he had when Foley’s kick sailed through) his time in charge would be viewed entirely differently.

          Im not (yet) calling for his head, but he is starting to show a level of stubborness in selections and tactics that Robbie Deans is starting to look like he had both nailed.

          • December 6th 2016 @ 12:46pm
            soapit said | December 6th 2016 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

            took the words out of my mouth. england being number two isnt an excuse to lose to them 4 times when theyre number 2 largely because of those losses.

          • December 6th 2016 @ 12:47pm
            Ian said | December 6th 2016 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

            Unfortunately Cooper has never played a good game against a Top 3 Team.

            • Roar Guru

              December 6th 2016 @ 1:00pm
              PeterK said | December 6th 2016 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

              Utter rubbish

              He has had a lot of good games against every nation but in particular against SA

              • December 6th 2016 @ 2:15pm
                RugbyLover said | December 6th 2016 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

                mostly agreed but I have never seen him play well against NZ although I like him much better than Foley at 10 just for his creativity.

                They do say creative people are somewhat flawed and so it goes…

              • Roar Guru

                December 6th 2016 @ 2:27pm
                PeterK said | December 6th 2016 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

                QC was instrumental in every wallaby try in the win against AB’s Hong Kong 2011

                You must have never watched that game.

              • December 6th 2016 @ 2:31pm
                RugbyLover said | December 6th 2016 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

                No, but I will. cheers

              • December 6th 2016 @ 2:52pm
                mapu said | December 6th 2016 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

                One game and not much of one at that.
                When its counted, he has not

              • Roar Guru

                December 6th 2016 @ 3:02pm
                Joey Johns said | December 6th 2016 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

                The same can be said of Foley against the All Blacks, can it not Mapu?

              • December 6th 2016 @ 4:03pm
                CUW said | December 6th 2016 @ 4:03pm | ! Report

                maybe u guys need to take NZ out of the equation and see how Cooper played against other teams.

                when u have one dominant force with a lengthy winning streak , its better to leave them out as an outlier and look at the general performance.

                just becoz all sprinters under the sun have lost to Bolt , does not mean all of them are not good. what we will wonder is who wins if Bolt is not in the race 😀

              • December 6th 2016 @ 6:34pm
                Jerry said | December 6th 2016 @ 6:34pm | ! Report

                I am fairly confident I’ve never seen the AB’s play Aus in HK in 2011.

                Pedantry aside, you’re right – he was very good in that game.

              • December 6th 2016 @ 6:51pm
                Chinmay Hejmadi said | December 6th 2016 @ 6:51pm | ! Report

                It was 2010, not 2011. Just for the sake of being pedantic.

            • December 6th 2016 @ 3:42pm
              Ruckin Oaf said | December 6th 2016 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

              Bledisloe 3 in 2013 – Cooper was excellent

              • December 7th 2016 @ 5:52pm
                mtiger said | December 7th 2016 @ 5:52pm | ! Report

                Just watched the last 20 minutes of the ENG game.

                1) Frisby should have come in at 50.
                2) Cooper should have come in at 50, for Foley.
                64′ Foley missed penalty.
                and then started the sequence for Joseph’s intercept try.

                Cheika should be fired

        • Roar Guru

          December 6th 2016 @ 9:06am
          PeterK said | December 6th 2016 @ 9:06am | ! Report

          True that the jury is out on Cooper.

          However the jury is in on Foley. It is insanity to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.
          So it is insanity retaining Foley, Cooper must be tried to see if he can get more out of the backline.

          • December 6th 2016 @ 3:41pm
            Ian said | December 6th 2016 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

            Cooper has been tried, it failed. Move on. Foley is the best we’ve got.

            • December 6th 2016 @ 3:43pm
              Ruckin Oaf said | December 6th 2016 @ 3:43pm | ! Report

              When the best you’ve got has a lower winning percentage that the “tried and failed” option then maybe you need to review your stance.

            • December 6th 2016 @ 5:39pm
              bradm said | December 6th 2016 @ 5:39pm | ! Report

              Ignorant Ian, you are blinded by your blue glasses.

            • December 6th 2016 @ 6:19pm
              RubberLegs said | December 6th 2016 @ 6:19pm | ! Report

              I have fond memories of Cooper and the Reds besting Dan Carter and Canterbury in the 2011 Super rugby final. Kiwi fans could not believe it.

              • December 6th 2016 @ 6:24pm
                Jerry said | December 6th 2016 @ 6:24pm | ! Report

                I still don’t believe it, Cooper was rubbish in that final. Without Will Genia, the Reds wouldn’t have stood a chance.

        • Roar Guru

          December 6th 2016 @ 9:16am
          eagleJack said | December 6th 2016 @ 9:16am | ! Report

          I’m looking forward to both Cooper and Foley having great Super seasons. It can only be good for the Wallabies if both lift their games. Competition breeds success.

          I’m always amazed that some genuinely believe that Cooper has a huge gap on Foley in terms of attack and defence. Well everything really if you read some comments. When in reality they both have their weaknesses and the decision has always been 50/50.

          I’m also looking forward to seeing Lance and Debreczeni develop next year too.

          Depth at 10 isn’t actually too bad. Not great. But it’s not as dire as our depth at 9.

          • December 6th 2016 @ 10:08am
            Hello said | December 6th 2016 @ 10:08am | ! Report

            Agree with that EJ.
            I will say I am more in the Cooper camp then Foley but the weaknesses of both are there for all to see and so are the strengths.
            Really hope Lance gets a through the full season.
            Also very interested to see who Larkham is going to play at the Brumbies.
            the more competition the better

            • Roar Guru

              December 6th 2016 @ 10:30am
              eagleJack said | December 6th 2016 @ 10:30am | ! Report

              Yeah I wanted to put the Brumbies 10 but I have no idea who it will be. I’ve seen a couple of names floated around but no standouts. Will definitely be interesting to see who gets first crack

              • December 6th 2016 @ 12:58pm
                Markus said | December 6th 2016 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

                With Robbie Coleman’s move to the Force adding to the departures of Toomua and Lealiifano, I can only really see it being one of Nic Jooste (who I do not think is ready) or Kyle Godwin.

                It is definitely going to be a problem position next season.

              • December 6th 2016 @ 2:38pm
                RugbyLover said | December 6th 2016 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

                Jooste is going to be an excellent 10. Needs another year maybe. Has a great goal kick on him as well. Saw him play for Hale in the Perth PSA competition. A standout.

              • December 6th 2016 @ 2:57pm
                Akari said | December 6th 2016 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

                I hope that the Brumbies see enough in young Wharenui Hawera and sign him up as he seems to have all the skills (including kicking) and vision at 10. Credit to Larkham if this kid turns out to be the real deal as he knows his way to the try line if not set up others to get there.

          • December 6th 2016 @ 10:31am
            Red Kev said | December 6th 2016 @ 10:31am | ! Report

            The decision has never been 50/50 for old mate Cheika!

          • December 6th 2016 @ 10:40am
            Terry said | December 6th 2016 @ 10:40am | ! Report

            Lance and Debreczeni oh please…One is slow as a draught horse and can`t kick and the other has done nothing in 3 years is average at playmaking and can only kick…

          • Roar Rookie

            December 6th 2016 @ 1:23pm
            Die hard said | December 6th 2016 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

            I would like to see that EJ but am not sure we will see much better than last year. Neither the red nor tah recruiting impress and these guys deserve some good go forward from the rest before their skills can come on.

            I suspect next year more of the same. Debrezini was quiet last year and initially promised a lot. I am hoping the second year syndrome is done with him and he comes to the fore. He reminds me of Pollard with his stature.

          • December 6th 2016 @ 4:29pm
            Kiwikrs said | December 6th 2016 @ 4:29pm | ! Report

            I would have hoped that if they were 50/50 then they’d share a 50/50 starting role. Or at least 50/50 minutes played as one is used as a finisher coming on closer to the 50-60min mark

          • December 7th 2016 @ 5:42am
            Faith said | December 7th 2016 @ 5:42am | ! Report

            Cooper’s strengths when he was great (back when the Reds won SR) were his long pass done with great timing, his deception and quick turn of speed, and he almost never made basic mistakes i.e catching the ball. His only weakness at the time was his defence. Now he only has a long pass whose timing is poor and almost always borderline forward. Against better teams like the ABs he’s capable of at least 3 errors a game, he’ll either knock on, miss a major tackle, or makes a bad judgment call i.e high tackle. Foley might go missing half the time but he’s relatively error-free compared to Cooper. It’s a pity that WBs don’t have other real options … maybe Beale should come back and play 10.

            • December 7th 2016 @ 9:47am
              Red Kev said | December 7th 2016 @ 9:47am | ! Report

              “Almost always borderline forward”

              HAHAHAHA. What a lucky guy that constantly throws forward passes and they don’t get called? Why’s Cheika sooking about the refs? Swings and roundabouts! Think of all Cooper’s forward passes he got away with this year!


              Foley makes more errors than Cooper! Fact! Missed kicks for touch. Knock ons. Charge downs. Intercepts. Nothing kicks.

              Get real buddy!!!

          • December 7th 2016 @ 6:55am
            Verisimilitude said | December 7th 2016 @ 6:55am | ! Report

            Totally agree on the benefit of having a firing Cooper and Foley. I am unabashed fan of Cooper but I’m going to be honest and say Foley has demonstrated some honest to God talent this year and I think also both their games are rubbing off on eachother in a really positive manner.

            I think one area that still needs some finesse is the link between the forwards and the backs, as you say we need a bit more at 9. Best demonstrated during the first half against the English when at times for reasons I can’t put my finger on it was like we were not thinking 2/3 phases ahead and as a consequence a few too many times we opted for the short pass to a waiting forward or another pick an drive. Someone the 9 or the 10 should have been checking the play an pushing for us to mix it up and put the defensive line into a bit of uncertainty. The numerous held up drives over the line are symptomatic of a few to many punches right into the saturated defensive line which is unlikely to have to many gaps in that tight.

            In summary a lot to like but a little bit more game awareness an leadership especially at those pivotal link positions and the results will come.

        • Roar Rookie

          December 6th 2016 @ 9:29am
          Joe said | December 6th 2016 @ 9:29am | ! Report

          Cooper will definitely have his chance playing in 2017. With Kerevi outside him, I hope they come up with a combo that will be hard to overlook for the green and gold.

        • December 6th 2016 @ 6:56pm
          marfu said | December 6th 2016 @ 6:56pm | ! Report


          • Roar Rookie

            December 6th 2016 @ 8:13pm
            K.F.T.D. said | December 6th 2016 @ 8:13pm | ! Report

            Watched him in NRC, he is a way better fullback. Big boot , big person, chimes in well 25 metres out. Maybe wasted at fly half. Like him .

            • December 6th 2016 @ 9:31pm
              marfu said | December 6th 2016 @ 9:31pm | ! Report

              KTFD – I have seen him do some good things at SR level too but he casts a big shadow for a fly-half at Test level so you are probably right. I suppose we wouldn’t even be having this discussion if we had a fit Toomua ,Leiliafana or Beale but they still need a better half than Phipps to service them.

      • Roar Guru

        December 6th 2016 @ 9:09am
        Will Sinclair said | December 6th 2016 @ 9:09am | ! Report

        Well Quade Cooper has a full 2017 season coming up to make his case.

        If he doesn’t do so, there will be no excuses.

        (And, for the record, I hope he shoots the lights out for Qld and Australia for the next five years.)

        • December 6th 2016 @ 9:16am
          Lostintokyo said | December 6th 2016 @ 9:16am | ! Report

          We all do Will.

        • Roar Guru

          December 6th 2016 @ 9:19am
          Machooka said | December 6th 2016 @ 9:19am | ! Report

          Absolutely agree Will.

        • December 6th 2016 @ 9:27am
          Redsback said | December 6th 2016 @ 9:27am | ! Report

          He will have one of the best backlines he has ever had around him, so I agree there should be no excuses. He may also have a dominant pack in front. In my opinion, anything less than winning next year would be a failure for the Reds.

          • December 6th 2016 @ 10:44am
            Doubles said | December 6th 2016 @ 10:44am | ! Report

            Kane Douglas is a major problem in the pack for the REDS though ..Hopefully Stiles will only consider him 5th lock at best behind Simmons Neville Korcyk and Young Powerhouse Lukhan Tui..

            • December 6th 2016 @ 6:01pm
              Daveski said | December 6th 2016 @ 6:01pm | ! Report

              Rodda is the guy you want starting for you Doubles. Along with Tui and then Neville on the bench. If the Reds think they can trot out a forward pack with Slipper, Moore, Simmons, Douglas and do well next year I think they are in for a rude shock. The game is getting too quick for those four.

          • December 6th 2016 @ 11:38am
            wally said | December 6th 2016 @ 11:38am | ! Report

            hmm – let’s tone down the Reds 2017 season expectations a bit… the forwards, should gain parity with most packs in the comp, but dominant is a bit of a stretch. As for Quade’s backline being the best he’s had around him? There’s certainly lots of potential, but the outside backs are a bit raw and unproven still aren’t they? magnay/kuridrani/F-sautia/Hunt/Parese/Nabuli/Maranta, Even Kerevi is pretty raw.

            • December 6th 2016 @ 11:55am
              Redsback said | December 6th 2016 @ 11:55am | ! Report

              Bur think of the other centre pairings he has had: he got lambasted for losing a semi final v the ABs in auckland with McCabe and Fainga’a in the centres. Surely the worst midfield combination Australia has fielded in the professional era (and Im aware that Timana Tahu played a couple of tests). It doesnt have the X-factor of Beale and O’Connor, but it’s better than any Reds backline he has ever had and certainly better thqn the 2011 championship winning backline

              • Roar Guru

                December 6th 2016 @ 12:41pm
                Hoy said | December 6th 2016 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

                Taps was the form 12 that year, and was overlooked. He was the form 12 the year after as well and was overlooked again. The Reds backline in 2011 was actually pretty good. The Wallabies backline that year was hamstrung by tactics and McCabe really. And I love how McCabe played, but he just wasn’t good enough at 12 against the good teams…

                And now I understand what you are saying… the Reds backline this year is better than previous years… yeah, better potential for sure.

      • Roar Rookie

        December 6th 2016 @ 9:26am
        Joe said | December 6th 2016 @ 9:26am | ! Report

        Totally agree with your summation. Cheika as a coach seems to be a one trick motivational pony. Everything else is just all over the shop.

        • December 6th 2016 @ 8:51pm
          Crash Ball2 said | December 6th 2016 @ 8:51pm | ! Report

          I seem to recall Bakkies foreshadowing this right at the start of Cheika’s tenure.

    • Roar Guru

      December 6th 2016 @ 7:28am
      Diggercane said | December 6th 2016 @ 7:28am | ! Report

      Thanks Brett.

      There is certainly a ‘stubborness’ around Cheika and his game plans for the Wallabies, a lack of flexibility or adapting, use of his bench highlight this I think. There is a determination to keep going on the same route, worryingly it is debateable whether it will work, it is already seemingly not. Reminds me a little of the comments around cricketers and ‘that’s the way he plays’ but paying little regard to what is called for in the given situation. I assume you will be heading down to Manuka today mate? Weather good?

      I would also suggest Ireland, at full strength should be considered up there with the ABs and England personally as well, not so much a top two but a top three for me before defining a gap.

      • Roar Guru

        December 6th 2016 @ 9:21am
        Machooka said | December 6th 2016 @ 9:21am | ! Report

        Agree Diggeriwi that Ireland should be in the conversation.

        The 6Ns clash between Ireland and England is shaping up as must view rugby.

        • Roar Guru

          December 6th 2016 @ 10:41am
          Carlos the Argie said | December 6th 2016 @ 10:41am | ! Report

          There are four teams that are playing at the level or above the RWC: ABs, England, Ireland and France, with the ABs at least the same level if not above.

          The rest of the Tier 1 is playing worse than at the RWC: Wales, Pumas, SA, Scotland, Italy.

          Australia is somewhere in between. Potential to play better but not there yet.

          This is why Ireland, England and France should make for an entertaining 6N.

          • Roar Guru

            December 6th 2016 @ 12:00pm
            Machooka said | December 6th 2016 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

            Just greedy Carlos… always wanting more.

            I’ll have another thanks 🙂

          • December 6th 2016 @ 2:42pm
            RugbyLover said | December 6th 2016 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

            I don’t see the ABs at the same level as the World Cup. Still playing well despite the personnel loses but I am sorry their handling and game play under pressure is not at the World Cup level. May be in another 12 months but not at the moment.

            The base skills of the new blood brought in, excellent. But the game under pressure? no it needs work.

          • December 6th 2016 @ 4:51pm
            CUW said | December 6th 2016 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

            Scotland are a better side than given credit for.

            just that they played so few matches this year , compared to other temas , i dont know why?

            if all their top players are availabe, they can be on par with the top 6.

            • December 6th 2016 @ 7:03pm
              Bakkies said | December 6th 2016 @ 7:03pm | ! Report

              The ABs may lose more players after the Lions Tour. Ben Smith, Kaino, Dagg, Crockett, Franks, Crotty, Fekitoa, Cruden. Coles is about to hit 30.

        • December 6th 2016 @ 3:27pm
          Dave said | December 6th 2016 @ 3:27pm | ! Report

          I agree…I do disagree with the comment in the article that says ” Ireland is the sort of team that Australia should be beating” ..hmmm no. Ireland are not a push over and I dare say will supply the most lions players with England. I think the Ireland have beaten Australia 3 of the last 4 times they have played too.

          It could be argued that Australia is the sort of team that countries should be beating

        • December 6th 2016 @ 6:57pm
          Chinmay Hejmadi said | December 6th 2016 @ 6:57pm | ! Report

          And guess what, it’s on the final weekend too. Grand Slam showdown à la 2003?

      • December 6th 2016 @ 12:52pm
        soapit said | December 6th 2016 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

        i think part of that stubbornness comes from him feeling the players are not executing his plan well enough for him to feel like its the plan thats wrong.
        might be chasing fools gold tho

        • December 6th 2016 @ 4:53pm
          CUW said | December 6th 2016 @ 4:53pm | ! Report

          but isn’t it stubbornness to keep on looking for perfection?

          i dont think any team , even NZ , play 100% as the coach tells them to do.

          • December 6th 2016 @ 6:21pm
            soapit said | December 6th 2016 @ 6:21pm | ! Report

            i wasnt meaning execute perfectly. just well enough to feel like he’s genuinely seen how his plan measures up

    • Roar Guru

      December 6th 2016 @ 7:37am
      stillmissit said | December 6th 2016 @ 7:37am | ! Report

      Brett I agree with most you say but I am struggling to see the impact that Hooper is having at the breakdown. Would love to see some video to support your views. I thought he had an excellent game on Saturday but not at the breakdown.

      I was disgusted at one point in the 2nd half of the game where one of ours was tackled and Simmonds and Kepu were in the background looking at it as they got into the D. We turned the ball over from memory.

      Cheika must wear the responsibility for this outcome and the attacks that will come from it. So Jones is a good mate of Cheika’s is he? I wonder if that is still the case..

      • Roar Rookie

        December 6th 2016 @ 9:12am
        dullsdulls said | December 6th 2016 @ 9:12am | ! Report

        As an England fan i thought we would be murdered at the breakdown but it seemed on the whole to be fairly unspectacular from both sides. I had the feeling our lose forwards were just neutralising Hooper and Pocock. Hooper had a great game outside of that area. In my selection i would never pick Dan Cole. Not using Cooper was a big mistake but maybe there are issues with Quade unknown to the public. I actually think Wales with a new coach would be a much scarier prospect than Ireland. I think my team is ok but i am not sure if we will match the all blacks anytime soon if ever.

        • December 6th 2016 @ 10:43am
          Charlie Turner said | December 6th 2016 @ 10:43am | ! Report

          “If ever”? That’s a fatalistic view mate. Next year gives Cheika a chance to reboot and ease into a horses for courses selection and game strategy policy. If he sticks with his self described “Australian way” the Wallabies will be pushing sh1+ uphill with a sharp stick.

      • December 6th 2016 @ 11:18am
        Crash Ball2 said | December 6th 2016 @ 11:18am | ! Report

        Hooper played very well on the weekend doing all of the things he does well. But It is a boldly ambitious endeavour to attempt to portray him as a standalone Gold ruck warrior from that England match – particularly citing one attacking breakdown in the three quarter / backline channel, in which the Wallabies ultimately lost possession. I can’t recall any spectacularly dominant singular clean outs he affected during the match (certainly not in the same category as Pocock’s one-man demolition of Irish openside Josh van de Flier from the first breakdown following a Wallabies lineout that completely cleared the attacking ruck and provided Genia the quick ball that prefaced the Wallabies beautiful backline-worked try the weekend prior) .

        Hooper made one memorable tackle employing great technique in catching an English runner on the angle and tipping him off balance which was wonderful. But equally, he was almost comically rag-dolled during a rampaging Nathan Hughes trot deep in the Wallabies red zone; palmed and held at reach effortlessly, arms flailing and ineffective in the championship minutes of the match.

        Hooper was his usual industrious, energetic, all-guts self this weekend. A champion with a huge heart. But he wasn’t the Wallabies best. And particularly, emphatically not close to the best at either the attacking or defensive breakdowns.

    • Roar Pro

      December 6th 2016 @ 7:46am
      Mike Huber said | December 6th 2016 @ 7:46am | ! Report

      ” but given that nothing was learnt from three consecutive lessons handed out back in June, I’m not holding my breath”

      You nailed it – Cheika doesn’t learn due to his stubbornness , parochialism , nepotism and blind faith in players that have failed continually .

      It is apparent Cheika’s Modus Operandi revolves around motivation , not coaching . Eddie Jones has exposed his lack of coaching nous and put into perspective Cheika’s weaknesses . Poor old Cheika does not have a plan B because his style is manifested only on grunt and , of course , playing the antiquated Australian way. At this level , against erudite coaches , you need to have more than one string to your coaching bow – which Cheika does not have , hence Australia’s demise .

      • Roar Guru

        December 6th 2016 @ 8:22am
        Carlos the Argie said | December 6th 2016 @ 8:22am | ! Report

        “Motivation is not a strategy”. It is just one tool.

        • December 6th 2016 @ 11:12am
          Peter D said | December 6th 2016 @ 11:12am | ! Report

          No credit for the England rugby team then Carlos? Afterall you did your usual nonsensical generalisation of the English nation and predicted that England would get beat prior to this game? A little humble pie might just be in order methinks!

          • Roar Guru

            December 6th 2016 @ 11:37am
            Carlos the Argie said | December 6th 2016 @ 11:37am | ! Report

            I did NOT predict that England would lose. I actually said that I WANTED Australia to win. That is not a prediction. It is a wish.

            Where am I giving or not giving credit? That sentence refers to Australia and is a criticism to those who think that “motivation” alone wins games.

            I find surprising and an exaggeration your statement that you think. Apparently, not correctly.

      • December 6th 2016 @ 2:51pm
        Akari said | December 6th 2016 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

        Totally agree Mike H although I’d like to add my disappointment in the manner in which the officials failed to police the England game properly and consistently. I’ll stop here before I bore Roarers with negativity.

        • December 6th 2016 @ 3:29pm
          Dave said | December 6th 2016 @ 3:29pm | ! Report

          same old … wallaby lose and they whinge about the ref.. every time like clock work

          • December 6th 2016 @ 4:01pm
            Perthstayer said | December 6th 2016 @ 4:01pm | ! Report

            ….and no-one has sought to mention/recall Cheika’s refusal to attend the voluntary meeting with the ref in the days prior to the game.

            Sure it was arranged by EJ but so what, suck it up. Attendance alone would have impressed the ref. The talk would have been wider than scrums and just imagine what EJ was left to talk to the ref about on his own!!

            • Roar Guru

              December 6th 2016 @ 5:32pm
              PeterK said | December 6th 2016 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

              sigh because spiro was wrong, cheika attended that meeting

              • December 7th 2016 @ 11:56am
                Perthstayer said | December 7th 2016 @ 11:56am | ! Report

                PeterK – I read elsewhere he had not attended. If you’re correct then I can give Cheika one of my few ticks!

          • December 6th 2016 @ 5:20pm
            Akari said | December 6th 2016 @ 5:20pm | ! Report

            What’s your problem, Dave? If anything, yours is the tiresome and unhealthy whinge for some dislike or hatred of anything to do with the Wallabies maybe? It’s pretty uninformed too.

            If Dave bothered to check, he would have found that I am usually on my lonesome defending decisions made by the refs, including those of Peyper and the unpopular (on this site at least) Stuart Berry of SA.

          • December 6th 2016 @ 7:57pm
            Peter said | December 6th 2016 @ 7:57pm | ! Report

            Dave old mate, just so that the entire Roar collective can appreciate the depth and breadth of your moral superiority, could you please confirm that you have never ever not once thought to yourself, or, perish the thought, said to the chap next to you, “My goodness me, I am not quite sure why the referee, sterling fellow that he is, made that ruling.”
            Merry Christmas.

          • December 6th 2016 @ 8:42pm
            Johnny Giant said | December 6th 2016 @ 8:42pm | ! Report

            People aren’t whinging about 50/50 calls they are whingeing about blatant things gone unnoticed and inconsistencies week in and out. There are news articles claiming the rugby boss doesn’t like Cheika. This turns rugby into WWE wrestling. It’s not about the result of one game.

    • Roar Guru

      December 6th 2016 @ 7:52am
      Fionn said | December 6th 2016 @ 7:52am | ! Report

      Yes. The problem has always (primarily) been with the forwards and their inability to attack the breakdown. This is a decision that makes the non-inclusion of Fardy even more baffling because, despite what you say, I don’t think Hooper is this marvellous forward when it comes to rucks. Rather like Simmons he hits a lot but is often gloriously ineffective when doing so. I thought Timani was good too.

      The other issue that you identified – ‘panic’, I blame purely on Cheika. The wallabies obviously do not practice kicking. Every match there is at least one 10-20min segment of the match where the Wallabies are caught trying to run the ball out of their 22 (often from the try line) and unless Pocock forces a penalty there is literally no way out. The only time the team actually kicks seems to be when they panic from all the defending they’re having to do, and the kick is always garbage because it’s never set up properly. Hodge and DHP can kick in super rugby, but not for the Wallabies. This makes me sure it is due to Cheika’s non-practicing of the strategy.

      It’s really a joke thinking you can consistently best good teams by playing a schoolboy style of rugby in which you run everything from everywhere while avoiding kicking like the plague.

      On side-note, it’s really interesting that I definitely agree that England was the better team. That being said, two of their tries were off mistake calls: the first being Vunipola being offside when Phipps messed up and the second being the forward pass. Whether they would have won otherwise is academic, because they did win, it’s just curious that even we all think that England were so much better, but those calls largely decided the match.

      • December 6th 2016 @ 8:35am
        wally said | December 6th 2016 @ 8:35am | ! Report

        Poor old Phipps…. yes he messed up on that pass to Kepu, but it was Kepu who for some reason tried to flick the ball down the backline after he dropped it. If Kepu doesn’t try some miracle pass (after knocking on), and just dives on the ball, it’s simply a scrum to England around the halfway line

        • December 6th 2016 @ 9:32am
          Redsback said | December 6th 2016 @ 9:32am | ! Report

          Genia and Gregan would have both won penalties in that situation. It was Phipps’ fault. I know Gregan is a bit of an old example, but the fact is decent halfbacks know how to win penalties in that situation. Moderately decent halfbacks know how to do it: you either pass it into his face – with your 10 deliberately positioning himself between you and the offending player or you accidentally trip over him. It’s not that hard.

          • December 6th 2016 @ 9:34am
            Redsback said | December 6th 2016 @ 9:34am | ! Report

            While I am on that point, does anyone think that Cooper wouldnt have positioned himself such the ball had to be passed into the offside player and, failing that, have accidentally tripped over the player himself, if necessary?

            • Roar Guru

              December 6th 2016 @ 9:48am
              eagleJack said | December 6th 2016 @ 9:48am | ! Report

              Cooper would have run in and tripped over the prop at the breakdown? Incredible!

              Well I guess while we are running hypotheticals there’s also a chance he would have scooped up the ball, done a pirouette and scored a beautiful 50m solo try. There really isn’t anything he can’t do when we don’t have to live in reality.

              • December 6th 2016 @ 10:27am
                Ken Catchpole's Other Leg said | December 6th 2016 @ 10:27am | ! Report

                Eagle Jack, in a conversation amongst grown ups, your ridicule of a logical point, rather than mature debate exposes an illogical prejudice.
                We don’t know whether playing Cooper would’ve made a difference, that is the point. Cooper’s form this year deserved a shot, for at least 30 minutes of several games. Chek, who I like, looks stubborn and distrustful from my position on the couch.

                I was waiting for the great coach’s master stroke. But alas what we got was Foley, who I also like, having too much to do in too many tests.
                If Quade’s attitude is intact he is an extremely disciplined young man. I hope it is.
                I am asking Santa for Quade to get a run in our next test – floating the ball wide out in front of Kerevi, Hodge, Tevita, Izzy and Naivalu, in that order wracking up 4 tries in the first 10 minutes.
                It could be a dream. It could be true.
                You don’t know unless you go.
                Chek’s selections can’t make anyone a Queenslander, but I can see how the Qld siege mentality is fed by stubborn, ‘safe’ selections and tactics.

              • Roar Guru

                December 6th 2016 @ 10:39am
                eagleJack said | December 6th 2016 @ 10:39am | ! Report

                If suggesting that Cooper would have milked the penalty is a logical point enjoyed amongst adults, then I’m quite happy sitting at the kids table. It is pure fantasy.

                I agree that Cooper should have been given more time. I have never stated otherwise. And was extremely disappointed that he was injured prior to the French game.

                Unlike others who try to make a point for “their man” by mocking his competition, I have never done that. I like Cooper as a player. And hope he kills it for the Reds next year and earns a shot in Gold. If that’s prejudice, then so be it.

              • December 6th 2016 @ 12:01pm
                Redsback said | December 6th 2016 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

                He would have kneed him in the head while looking the other way as well.

                Clearly the second part was a joke, but im sure he wouldn’t have positioned himself to the side of the player, he would have stood where he wanted to and if that meant it had to be passed into an English prop to get to him: so be it.

                It is literally the easiest penalty to get in the game. If you pass it into him, the referee has no choice – they cant let play carry on with the person clearly in an offside position and making no effort to retreat ir stay out of the way – for instance by lying down instead of sitting up like a meer cat

              • December 6th 2016 @ 2:21pm
                ClarkeG said | December 6th 2016 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

                The referee does have a choice. He can just ignore it and say play on or penalise the player for attempting to milk the penalty.

              • December 6th 2016 @ 3:48pm
                Ian said | December 6th 2016 @ 3:48pm | ! Report

                Yes, absolutely agree he would have done whatever it is that you are saying. If not, Cooper would have run back to his own line, then spun around, chip & chased, regathered, grubbered, passed to himself, cut-out passed to himself, ran around himself, side-stepped himself, run the length of the field and scored under the posts. Every bit as plausible as whatever you said.

          • December 6th 2016 @ 11:44am
            wally said | December 6th 2016 @ 11:44am | ! Report

            sure phipps could have won a penalty, but too many people are bagging him for giving away that try… it was Kepu who flicked the ball into the wide open for england to toe through. I’m just trying to bring some balance to the bagging.

            • Roar Guru

              December 6th 2016 @ 2:07pm
              Fionn said | December 6th 2016 @ 2:07pm | ! Report

              Mate, Kepu compounded the problem but let’s not pretend the crisis wasn’t caused by Phipps’ incompetence. Kepu panicked once he realised we were in trouble and (possibly) made it worst. There was no excuse for Phipps’ error, he was under no pressure and should have milked a penalty.

              • December 6th 2016 @ 2:24pm
                ClarkeG said | December 6th 2016 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

                Better still Phipps should have left the referee to deal with any potential infringement by the opposition and played positively especially considering as you say – he was under no pressure.

            • December 6th 2016 @ 3:09pm
              Akari said | December 6th 2016 @ 3:09pm | ! Report

              wally, Phippsy passed the ball to no-one in particular so as to get himself out of a difficult position of his own making. A smarter half back (like Aaron Smith of the ABs or Gregan) would have passed it straight at Vunipola melon, a huge target he surely can’t miss, or trip over the bugger the moment he picked up the ball. Instead he picked up the ball and hesitated because of the brick wall in front of him and probably panicked.

              • December 6th 2016 @ 3:42pm
                ClarkeG said | December 6th 2016 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

                Yeah and how is that going to work for him when the referee says play on because the referee has seen no infringement by the opponent as was the case here.

              • December 6th 2016 @ 5:25pm
                Akari said | December 6th 2016 @ 5:25pm | ! Report

                This is the 1st to come to my attention that the ref said ‘play on’. In fact, he ignored the infringement.

              • December 6th 2016 @ 6:35pm
                ClarkeG said | December 6th 2016 @ 6:35pm | ! Report

                Your suggestion was that a smart halfback would have passed the ball into the opponent.

                My question was what would happen then if the referee said play on after he did this. There would be no reason for the ref to blow the whistle if he did not see an infringement.

                In this instance we have to assume the ref did not see an infringement because he did not blow the whistle.

              • December 6th 2016 @ 10:43pm
                Redsback said | December 6th 2016 @ 10:43pm | ! Report

                It’s offside. It is an infringement and it’s not like he was trying to get himself remotely out of the way. He was literally sitting up.

                On a related point, I have seen Genia win penalties by throwing forward passes into those players. Obviously that is a situation where the ref gets it wrong. In thia case, even though Phipps handled it very poorly, the fact that it immediately led to a try should have seen it called back.

              • December 6th 2016 @ 11:33pm
                ClarkeG said | December 6th 2016 @ 11:33pm | ! Report

                Well actually Red it’s debatable if he was offside. I doubt there was a ruck formed at any point, however that is not that relevant really.

                We can debate as much as we like whether or not Vunipola committed an infringement (not rolling away? – obstruction?) but if the referee does not rule an infringement then its play on.

                It is not fact that the presence of Vunipola led to the try. What led to the try was poor play by Phipps, Kepu and I would add Folau’s lack of commitment in attempting to prevent it.

                So if the referee dd not see the presence of Vunipola as an infringement why would you expect him to disallow the try. There is no reason.

          • December 6th 2016 @ 2:13pm
            ClarkeG said | December 6th 2016 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

            Except that to do so is a penalisable offence.

            Connor Murray was warned by the ref for exactly this in the Ire-ABs game at Chicago.

            • December 6th 2016 @ 3:12pm
              Akari said | December 6th 2016 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

              Penalisable may be CG but it would be better to give away 3 points than 7 and Moore would have had strong grounds to complain about the initial transgression from Vunipola.

              • December 6th 2016 @ 3:37pm
                ClarkeG said | December 6th 2016 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

                I don’t get that.

                So I’ve got the ball in my hands – the play is within my control – but in case my team, including me, makes a series of schoolboy errors and concedes a try under the posts, I should pass it into an opponent who is on the ground and give away 3 points or field position.

                Yeah right.

                Moore may have thought he had strong grounds to complain in this instance but that got him where?- no where in fact. I found it quite bizarre to see Moore confronting the referee after this try standing between the referee and Farrell who was taking the conversion.

                My understanding is that opponents have to be standing behind the goal line before a conversion is taken. Gee – how standards are falling in our game.

              • December 6th 2016 @ 4:56pm
                CUW said | December 6th 2016 @ 4:56pm | ! Report

                they fell when , at the insistence of coaching staff, the Irish skipper went to remonstrate with the ref about a forward pass, in the game against NZ 🙂

              • December 6th 2016 @ 5:28pm
                Akari said | December 6th 2016 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

                You never will with your eyes/mind closed.

              • December 6th 2016 @ 6:42pm
                ClarkeG said | December 6th 2016 @ 6:42pm | ! Report

                Akari – you are the one proposing that a player should intentionally infringe the laws of the game yet you say I am the one with the closed eyes and mind. Good Oh – really is that your best effort.

                What you have said simply does not make sense.

              • December 6th 2016 @ 7:03pm
                ClarkeG said | December 6th 2016 @ 7:03pm | ! Report

                Yes Cuw that was bizarre as well.

                In this latest match Peyper has to move sideways to see the conversion being taken whilst Moore is still in his face.

                Why a referee would allow any player – captain or not – to behave like that is beyond belief.

                There is just too much of this sort of stuff going on in the game. They need to stamp it out.

              • December 7th 2016 @ 3:14pm
                Akari said | December 7th 2016 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

                Vunipola had intentionally infringed and a clear-cut penalty. So, what is wrong with Phippsy making it clear to the ref about that infringement as the ref had chosen to ignore it? Aaron Smith does it all the time given an inkling of opportunity.

              • Roar Rookie

                December 7th 2016 @ 3:46pm
                Shane D said | December 7th 2016 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

                I don’t think that Peyper was very interested in penalising Vunipola & rewatching the incident I can see why.
                Vunipola has made the tackle, has moved out of the way of the ball coming back & is moving to lay flat, out of Phipps way (if you look at 2 breakdowns previously he did the same thing). Phipps comes into clear the ball & runs in between Vunipola & the breakdown so Vunipola is behind him. Vunipola stops his motion as if he continued to flatten down he would have impeded Phipps.
                If Phipps had made a show of falling over Vunipola then I suggest he would have been awarded a penalty but he had clear access to the ball & played on. I applaud him for that as I hate seeing halfbacks milk those penalties when they could clear the ball.
                I believe Peyper saw a defender moving to get out of the way of the ball & the halfback get to the ball. Vunipola had little to do with Phipps picking up the ball, running to his left (Vunipola was to his right) & throwing a brick at Kepu.

              • December 7th 2016 @ 4:12pm
                ClarkeG said | December 7th 2016 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

                If you can’t see whats wrong with a player behaving in that way Akari then I can’t help you. Presumably if you condone this then you condone any behaviour that might make a referee think an infringement has been committed by another player – e.g. diving, feigning injury.

                Whether or not you think it is a penalty is irrelevant as is the view of Phipps in this instance. If the referee does not see it as a penalty then it’s not a penalty. It is play on.

                Just because other players indulge in this sort of behaviour does not justify it I’m afraid. Rather it highlights an area of the game that should be treated more harshly by officials.

            • December 6th 2016 @ 6:24pm
              soapit said | December 6th 2016 @ 6:24pm | ! Report

              ireland still got the penalty tho didnt they clarke (from memory)

              • December 6th 2016 @ 6:49pm
                ClarkeG said | December 6th 2016 @ 6:49pm | ! Report

                Yes Ireland did get the penalty but what Murray did was a penalisable offence .

                And that is what the referee reminded him of.


              • December 6th 2016 @ 8:48pm
                soapit said | December 6th 2016 @ 8:48pm | ! Report

                the warning is a bit hollow when you get rewarded for doing it at the same time.

                remains nothing more than a theoretical penalty really given the closest its come is a single instance of a warning (compared to all the times its been rewarded with a penalty to the passer).

                as long as a players does a half decent job of pretending it was a genuine pass pretty safe to ignore such warnings.

                tho phipps is the exact type of player to not manage to do a decent job of it and be the first to be penalised for it.

              • Roar Guru

                December 6th 2016 @ 10:14pm
                PeterK said | December 6th 2016 @ 10:14pm | ! Report

                it is NOT an offence to intentionally pass a ball into an opponent, if so show me the law.

                It may be penalised for an intentional forward pass but you have never qualified your statement.

              • December 6th 2016 @ 10:30pm
                ClarkeG said | December 6th 2016 @ 10:30pm | ! Report

                Yeah you’re right. The issue is that the referees should treat it more harshly.

                It’s really not that different to players taking dives – something many rugby followers find detestable. Referees often issue warnings for this behaviour as well but hardly ever penalise it.

                Both actions are attempts to lead the officials to believe an opponent has committed an infringement.

              • December 6th 2016 @ 11:00pm
                ClarkeG said | December 6th 2016 @ 11:00pm | ! Report

                We are not talking about intentional forward passes so not sure why that gets a mention.

                We are talking about intentionally throwing the ball at an opponent to gain a penalty.

                It is covered under unfair play (foul play) and I can’t see why it would not fall under unsportsmanlike conduct as well.

                And I’ll take my cue from Referee Raynal as well who warned Conor Murray for doing exactly that at Chicago. I would be somewhat surprised if he doesn’t know his law.

      • December 6th 2016 @ 8:52am
        Lostintokyo said | December 6th 2016 @ 8:52am | ! Report

        Eddie should not get too cocky. The toed through ball and an interception also lead to the Wallabies loss. Rugby is a game of inches.

        • December 6th 2016 @ 9:12am
          Bakkies said | December 6th 2016 @ 9:12am | ! Report

          Nothing about a game of inches with those two schoolboy errors. The first one compounded by Kepu slapping it in to England’s path.

        • December 6th 2016 @ 10:34am
          handles said | December 6th 2016 @ 10:34am | ! Report

          When the inches have gone your way four times in a row…it is time to get cocky!

        • December 6th 2016 @ 11:03am
          Harry said | December 6th 2016 @ 11:03am | ! Report

          I watched the replay last night and 3 of the 4 England tries shouldn’t have happened and the 4th (Yarde’s try) was a highly contentious call by the TMO that Yarde didn’t knock on.
          Gosh, the Wallabies must have been robbed yes? So how come, for the 4th test in a row, England won at the end very comfortably, by well more than a score? 4 times can’t just be luck … as Brett’s article and the other commentators point out, Cheika ball is easily read and can be effectively countered, as England showed us no less than 4 times and NZ comprehensively in Auckland.
          Another massive problem is the Wallabies inability to get out of their own half – poor kicking, one dimensional attack, lacck of forward drive and handling mistakes all contribute.
          That to me is the most depressing and major feature of the Wallabies in 2016 … their inability to change tack and their inability to remain”in the game”. For most of the last 40 years when watching the Wallabies I always though we were a chance in virtually all of our games – not this year, where in most tests we lost were never going to win with 10 minutes to go. Many depressing losses, IMO the most depressing was the Wallabies inability to take a great opportunity to win at Pretoria for the first time EVER, chances like that don;t come around often and we were unable to grasp it.

          Would be interested to see the scoreboard for the last 20 minutes in Wallaby test matches this year … suspect it will be very depressing reading.

          Completely agree with the Roar’s consensus on Cheika – great motivator, passionate rugby man, but failing badly in selection and tactics, compounded by stubborness. The results reflect this reality.

          • December 6th 2016 @ 2:51pm
            RugbyLover said | December 6th 2016 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

            not fair. While I did not like Phipps’ game the dummy by the England half to score that try was genius. I dont care who was defending I do not know of one player would not have fallen for it.

            So I would say 2 out of 4 tries were lucky not 3.

            • December 6th 2016 @ 3:18pm
              Akari said | December 6th 2016 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

              No Roarer would fallen for it, RugbyLover, ever. You should know that by now.

              Then again, Phippsy should have been on notice from Cheika after the Vunipola incident. It’s likely that he had not recovered mentally from that incident and should have been pulled not long after.

            • December 6th 2016 @ 4:18pm
              CUW said | December 6th 2016 @ 4:18pm | ! Report

              @ RugbyLover

              u shud blame the auzzy defensive alignment in general for that one. Clearly there is someone marking the wing , but Phipps goes that way anyway , becoz he is not sure.

              is a well aligned defensive line, he would have trusted there to be cover and the marker to take on the winger.

              also there was no marker in the inside , where Youngs ran thru. if the defensive line had drifted at least someone else shud be near the hole left open by Phipps turning out.

              but peeps shud realize that England’s defensive line is no better. they have let in a lot of trys and had Auzzy been more accurate with the basics, they could have scored a lot more.

              in fact, SCW has said in one article , that had it been the all blacks, the mach would have been lost within the first 20 minutes.

            • December 7th 2016 @ 10:27am
              Harry said | December 7th 2016 @ 10:27am | ! Report

              Just returning to this after a day and yes RL Phipps was not to blame for the English half’s well taken try. The fault was the other players (eg. Michael Hooper’s turned back) and also the ref who in the play before let go a blatant forward pass.
              I actually think Phipps has many good attributes, but is a long way behind Genia, as we saw to our cost.

        • December 6th 2016 @ 5:00pm
          CUW said | December 6th 2016 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

          Edie isnt and hasnt got cocky. it is the press that come up with this rubbish.

          in fact this is what Eddie had to say after a 14:0 season.

      • December 6th 2016 @ 9:20am
        BBA said | December 6th 2016 @ 9:20am | ! Report

        Fionn, I do agree with your thinking about England being the better side yet the two calls that did not go Aus way made the game less close.

        My take on it was that although the calls favored England the overwhelming feeling was that the tide was turning and if those calls had gone the other way you felt that England would have came back.

        My viewpoint is that even with forward passes if you keep letting teams score off forward passes then you will get calls that will go against you. In other words your D has to be better. Teams that are making the plays tend to get the calls. True in most sports.

      • Roar Rookie

        December 6th 2016 @ 9:20am
        dullsdulls said | December 6th 2016 @ 9:20am | ! Report

        I am an England fan but agree with you that England are not as good as the results between the 2 sides suggest but i do think they are fitter than the Wallabies. They do have a good kicking game but i hope they dont kick to the ABs too much. The other thing is that the England back line is getting to look more dangerous but alas we do not have an Israel F. What a player. I think the Australian Scrum has improved, I also think England have gone backwards in that respect and the breakdown work by the wallabies has gone backwards big time.

        • December 6th 2016 @ 9:27am
          Lostintokyo said | December 6th 2016 @ 9:27am | ! Report

          I felt after the June series the English pack had the makings of a number one side. The problem was the backline was a work in progress. Eddie had played two playmakers in Ford and Farrell. These two are good footballers but……
          Interesting that Eddie handed kicking duties late in the game to Ford. If he could kick Eddie’s jigsaw would have another piece in place.

          • December 6th 2016 @ 4:30pm
            CUW said | December 6th 2016 @ 4:30pm | ! Report

            the 2 playmaker thing works for \England strategy of kicking out and going to lineouts. the surprise is that teams who came to play them did not have a plan to counter this.

            it will be interesting to see what the composition of the pack is when England play different styles in 6N. in these tests they went with 2 6s and an 8 with the 7 on the bench. but probably by next Feb, many injured guys are expected to be back.

            the backline is more or less fixed , if not for injuries : May Watson Novell the front runners for wing. Brown at the back and Joseph and Farrell the centers. Slade Goode and teo the subs.

            i think England have a very settled squad much like NZ , if injuries are kept away 🙂

      • December 6th 2016 @ 2:07pm
        ClarkeG said | December 6th 2016 @ 2:07pm | ! Report

        The tries did not come off mistake calls.

        The first Eng try come off a comedy of errors involving Phipps, Kepu and Folau. Whether or not Vunipola impeded Phipps is debatable.

        The Youngs try come of a penalty where Haylett – Petty intentionally went off his feet. The forward pass led to a scrum followed by the penalty. But was that pass any more forward than Hooper’s to Folau earlier in the match.

        If we want to be picky about everything then the first Aust try should never have been. Pocock should have been penalised for a dangerous tackle on Farrel on the goal line. He should then have been penalised for unbinding and kicking the ball back through the scrum and then again for joining the ruck from an offside position (not through the gate) immediately before the try.

        One thing is for sure about a game of rugby. For every fault you find on one side you can almost certainly find one to match on the other side.

        • December 6th 2016 @ 3:27pm
          Akari said | December 6th 2016 @ 3:27pm | ! Report

          “The tries did not come off mistake calls.”.

          You are of course entitled to your views CG as we are to ours. Perhaps refs should undertake some mental training to enable them to cope with crowd pressure in tight tests.

          • December 6th 2016 @ 3:49pm
            ClarkeG said | December 6th 2016 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

            When people say tries come off mistake calls then I assume they mean as a direct result of a mistake a try was scored.

            That is not the case in the Youngs and Joseph (first) tries.

            • December 6th 2016 @ 4:32pm
              CUW said | December 6th 2016 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

              the only contencios call was the knockon OR NOT try by Yarde.

              but there was a simillar call that went for England in the SA match when lawes scored.

              at this rate maybe rugger needs a ball that will light up like the bails OR use hot-spot 😀

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