Five talking points from Super Rugby Round 16

Charlie Lawry Roar Guru

By Charlie Lawry, Charlie Lawry is a Roar Guru

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74 Have your say

    Here are five talking points to come out of Super Rugby in Round 16.

    1. The Brumbies aren’t finals material
    The conference system is an unmitigated mess. As we look forward to next year’s rejig, one element remains a problem – the automatic finals spot for conference winners.

    The Brumbies getting a free pass to a home final because they topped the group is borderline embarrassing. An overall points table would see them in ninth.

    No doubt they’ll try to make the best of the format quirk. Their defence is solid if nothing else. But I think we all expected a little more endeavour under the tutelage of Stephen Larkham. Their last-minute loss to the Reds on Friday made for grim viewing.

    2. Koroibete at the ready for Rugby Championship
    Marika Koroibete is staking a real claim for a Wallabies wing spot. The former NRL flyer has been steadily improving and capped it off with a first half double on Friday against the Force. It was surprising not to see him feature at all in the June Tests given Michael Cheika’s rotation of outside backs.

    Week by week, he’s becoming more involved and more influential. He’s an abrasive ball-runner with the ability to finish, and he’s strong in defence. In a struggling team, he’s been a standout performer. Play him while he’s hot, Cheik.

    Marika Koroibete of the Storm runs with the ball during the Round 20 NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the Sydney Roosters at AAMI Park in Melbourne, Saturday, July 23, 2016. (AAP Image/David Crosling)

    (AAP Image/David Crosling)

    3. The Force are going down swinging
    It’s the saga that’s dragged on and on throughout the season. Who’ll get the chop ‒ the Rebels or the Force? The ARU has sat on its hands, hoping the decision will be made for them.

    Well, if it was purely on merit, the Force would survive. They’ve shown infinitely more fight than their Melbourne rivals. Friday’s 31-22 victory in Perth was a case in point. It can’t be easy to play with such an uncertain future, but the men from the west are doing their darndest.

    With just one round remaining, they sit second in the conference. If they roll the Tahs in Perth next week ‒ and that’s a fair shout on current evidence ‒ there’s every chance they’ll end up with the same amount of wins as the Brumbies. What then?

    4. The wheels have fallen off at the Waratahs
    No Australian team has covered themselves in glory this year, but the Waratahs are perhaps the biggest waste of potential. No team has a showcased a larger gulf between their best and worst form. Unfortunately for the Tahs, we’ve seen far more of the latter.

    They’ve shipped an obscene amount of points, including 40 or more in each of their last three games. The majority of these have come in the first half, forcing them to play catch up.

    Their penchant for comebacks suggests it’s not an issue of fitness. But they demonstrably don’t have the poise to build a game from scratch, or when it matters. You’d be tempted to call them valiant defeats, but valiance doesn’t really apply when you’re the one handicapping yourself.

    After next week, the Waratahs lose both defence coach Nathan Grey and forwards coach Cam Blades, and lack the funds to replace them. This puts even more responsibility on the shoulders of head coach Daryl Gibson. Someone pass me a drink…and keep them coming.

    5. Australian rugby hasn’t earned a holiday
    Any fan will tell you, the basic skills in the Aussie conference have been wretched. It’s not a new problem ‒ poor handling, aimless kicking, non-existent support play, passes behind the man, passive defending, indecision, and ill-discipline are all too prevalent on these shores.

    The Wallabies aren’t in shape for the Rugby Championship. Contractual obligations be damned, I say. Every professional rugby player in Australia should be forced to attend a rigorous skills bootcamp from now right up until the opening fixture of next season.

    It’s a damning indictment of the talent pool, coaching and apparent desire currently on offer in this country. At a time when world rugby is in relative good health, we’re stumbling backwards.

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    The Crowd Says (74)

    • July 9th 2017 @ 5:45am
      MH01 said | July 9th 2017 @ 5:45am | ! Report

      Point 5 sums it all up .

      • July 9th 2017 @ 9:44am
        Muglair said | July 9th 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

        The one thing in the absolute control of the SR teams themselves is the fitness level of players. Moore came out and said what was blatantly obvious from the first Force and Waratahs game. The players are not fit enough.

        I have been at each home game and the Waratahs are not fit and I have not seen anything to suggest any of the other Australian teams are much better.

        They will say they are fit. Having watched the All Blacks, Lions, and the NZ SR teams I say they are not fit enough. You may remember the hullabaloo about Cheika and the Coogee steps when he took over at the Tahs. A basic building block that took two seasons of relentless focus to produce results.

        The first place you notice it is speed off the line in defence. Then the inability to adapt on defence. Poor support play, sloppy handling, indecision, getting in the road, etc etc. I agree with point 5 but the number one root cause is fitness, some of our players have demonstrated good, and often improving skills. I live in hope that the Wallabies mediocre performances were influenced by ruthless fitness training leaving them overdone for the tests.

        We will soon find out, the AB have had world class preparation for the Bledisloe and RC.

      • July 9th 2017 @ 11:50am
        Tooly said | July 9th 2017 @ 11:50am | ! Report

        Koroibete is just another big Fijian winger they are awesome with the ball and dodgy in defensive except for Speight who defends well .
        Brumbies : Dumbo’s in the last four minutes .
        The Force players seem to be trying to impress Chekko with some biffo and should thrash the Pretty Boys next week in all ways .
        The average drunk supporter would be better than Natho with defence , Gibson will be fine .
        What does Chekko do to these blokes ? They all come back worse than they were and that was bad enough . Is he related to Trumbull ?
        God help us !

        • July 9th 2017 @ 12:06pm
          Tooly said | July 9th 2017 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

          If we must lose a Team it should not be the Force they are the one side who are improving and playing like Jeff Horn fights . They are vital to our future and it would be a waste to send their players to inferior franchises and coaches .
          The one to go must be the Rebels , if not them the Tut Tahs .

        • July 9th 2017 @ 1:23pm
          PiratesRugby said | July 9th 2017 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

          Korobete’s defence is good. I’ve been watching him closely all season. He’s often pulling off tryssving tackles and keeps good alignment generally. In attack he’s a weapon and is always working hard off the ball.

          • Roar Rookie

            July 10th 2017 @ 12:16pm
            piru said | July 10th 2017 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

            I did notice Haylett Petty trying to target him with kicks behind, but it didn’t seem to come off.

    • July 9th 2017 @ 5:49am
      Shop said | July 9th 2017 @ 5:49am | ! Report

      Agree with all of that. It is a pity that the Force are out of reach, would have been great to see them make the finals in spite of the ARU. It would have at least been a silver lining in the ridiculous dark cloud that is this conference system.

      • Roar Pro

        July 9th 2017 @ 12:27pm
        Crazy Horse said | July 9th 2017 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

        If they’d got one more try and beat the TAhs last tie around the Force would be looking at possibly topping the Conference with a win next week.

        • Roar Guru

          July 9th 2017 @ 12:40pm
          eagleJack said | July 9th 2017 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

          But they didn’t so who cares. Plenty of “what ifs” for all franchises.

        • July 9th 2017 @ 4:10pm
          andrewM said | July 9th 2017 @ 4:10pm | ! Report

          or hadn’t had that brain fade against the Brumbies..

          • Roar Rookie

            July 10th 2017 @ 12:16pm
            piru said | July 10th 2017 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

            Or that brain fade against the Crusaders

          • Roar Guru

            July 10th 2017 @ 5:22pm
            Train Without A Station said | July 10th 2017 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

            If the just Rebels hadn’t lost 12 games they’d be leading the competition too.

    • July 9th 2017 @ 5:50am
      riddler said | July 9th 2017 @ 5:50am | ! Report

      good summary charlie..

      the basic skill sets is the thing that alarms me the most…

      i would also love a new coaching path program developed..

      it isn’t just on the players.. although they should be very ashamed of their efforts..

    • July 9th 2017 @ 6:24am
      Mike said | July 9th 2017 @ 6:24am | ! Report

      Fire or demote Gibson and Stiles. It’s criminal to keep rewarding under performance in the coaching team for the 2 biggest states

      • July 9th 2017 @ 6:57am
        riddler said | July 9th 2017 @ 6:57am | ! Report

        i would move both on.. not sure of the financial implications or capabilities of these two unions.. but both stiles and gibson are not head coach material..

        • Roar Rookie

          July 9th 2017 @ 7:20am
          Dave_S said | July 9th 2017 @ 7:20am | ! Report

          I don’t disagree but in any event would it solve the skills problem? I can’t accept that pro players don’t already know how to practice catching, passing etc regardless of who is coaching them. Is it actually possible Gibson et al are making their skills worse? Surely not.

          • July 9th 2017 @ 8:32am
            Max Power said | July 9th 2017 @ 8:32am | ! Report

            Without getting overly complex about it, it depends on how it is coached and structured in training but there is definitely potential for a coach to make a players skill execution, to use coaching jargon, worse under pressure.

      • Roar Rookie

        July 9th 2017 @ 10:44pm
        Kirky said | July 9th 2017 @ 10:44pm | ! Report

        Mike, the only Coach who is in fact ‘Coaching’ is Dave Wessels, and Stiles, Gibson, Larkham and McGahan should take leave now, no ifs or buts, ~ the only problem with that is, where are you going to get their replacements?, there’s none in Aussie!

        The complete ARU structure from top to bottom should, along with the methodology, get an absolute major overhaul because as it is right now, it’s unfixable!

    • July 9th 2017 @ 8:00am
      soapit said | July 9th 2017 @ 8:00am | ! Report

      just as well we’ve snapped up the waratahs defence coach for another 2 years at the wallabies then

      • July 9th 2017 @ 9:47am
        nickbrisbane said | July 9th 2017 @ 9:47am | ! Report

        Their defence is likely to improve now they have lost that particular defence coach

    • July 9th 2017 @ 9:21am
      PiratesRugby said | July 9th 2017 @ 9:21am | ! Report

      Waratahs wasted potential? Nah, just reality colliding with the delusional belief that NSW is the centre of the rugby universe. But Waratahs will continue to be picked in the national side. Their coaches will get appointed to national positions. And the results of the national side will speak for themselves.

      • Roar Guru

        July 9th 2017 @ 11:56am
        eagleJack said | July 9th 2017 @ 11:56am | ! Report

        I still laugh when I recall you blaming Cheika for the state of Australian rugby. Agenda much?

        Just ignore that rugby in this country has been declining for 15 years. I’m sure it helps you to cope.

        • Roar Pro

          July 9th 2017 @ 12:32pm
          Crazy Horse said | July 9th 2017 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

          Rugby in NSW has been declining for 15 years. Elsewhere in the country it’s actually growing.

          • July 9th 2017 @ 1:00pm
            bigbaz said | July 9th 2017 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

            Yep, if we could just isolate Sydney, let them play their shut shield or whatever and let the rest of the country pick proper test sides and recognise the real growth going on.

            • Roar Guru

              July 9th 2017 @ 1:11pm
              eagleJack said | July 9th 2017 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

              Oh yeah because there are all these outstanding players performing week in, week out who are just being ignored.

              You are from QLD right bigbaz? How’s their growth going. How are the Reds performing after being pre-season specials?

              But keep focusing on big bad NSW.

              • July 10th 2017 @ 12:40pm
                bigbaz said | July 10th 2017 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

                if you can’t see that the major problems of Aussie are comming out of Sydney then you can’t be helped. The SE cnr of QLD is nearly as bad but they are only trying to fick QLD rugby, not the whole shooting match. If you ever get out of Manly or the GC you would see there are outstanding players in more centres than your little world.
                Meanwhile the rest of us are enjoying our footy without the BS you Northshore types are bringing to our great game , emphasis on our.

              • July 10th 2017 @ 1:45pm
                Gman said | July 10th 2017 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

                I think the major problem is everyone who supports the game is turning on each other.
                Coupled with our senior players not seeming to have what it takes to turn the corner (if they can)

                Supporters want the best for the code first – All opinion has some merit (albeit misplaced or less informed than others) if we cant calmly muster and discuss, we have already lost….we are no better than the ARU

                The way it see is its ‘our’ game- and its been hijacked and stacked . All supporters can do more to wrestle it back or collectivley we are no better than seagulls fighting over chips .

        • July 9th 2017 @ 1:28pm
          PiratesRugby said | July 9th 2017 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

          No agenda mate, just my view. Your blind defence of NSW is pure sycophancy. The idea that the solution to Australia’s problems is more Waratahs is laughable given all the evidence. Even after last night’s performance, the Wallabies will persist with players like Hooper, Hannigan, Foley and Robertson. Even Horne still gets a look in. Australian rugby is demoralised as well as defeated. Cheika must go.

          • Roar Guru

            July 9th 2017 @ 2:27pm
            eagleJack said | July 9th 2017 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

            Who is saying that the solution to Australian rugby’s problems is more Waratahs?

            You are imagining things.

            • July 10th 2017 @ 10:02am
              PiratesRugby said | July 10th 2017 @ 10:02am | ! Report

              Hanigan, Robertson, Grey.

        • Roar Guru

          July 10th 2017 @ 5:13pm
          Timbo (L) said | July 10th 2017 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

          Baby, Bathwater.

          There are some good players at the Tahs, perhaps not ready for the Yellow Jersey but with mentoring, not far off.
          There are some over-paid media darlings that could be knocked down a peg or 2.

          There are some horrible game plans, most likely centered around aforementioned darlings.

          Lets get back to basics:
          Ball Skills
          Wide range of weapons in the armory (Box and tactical kicks are good when used at the right time and supported the right way.
          Players that can both attack and defend and do all the jobs required for their position.
          Nurture depth at #10 – Buy back Mike Harris. Train Jake Gordon, Give Mack Mason some time in the sunlight.

          The formula is simple.
          Coaches across the Planet are following it.
          Why can’t we

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