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Why on earth would Cheika select Hooper as Wallaby captain?

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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284 Have your say

Popular article! 8,142 reads

    Michael Cheika is no dill, he’s arguably one of the most switched on blokes in world rugby.

    The 50-year-old speaks fluent French, Italian, and Arabic, has built up a hugely successful multi-million dollar fashion house from scratch called ‘Live Fashion’.

    He has done this in and around his time in rugby where he was a fearsome, uncompromising back rower of 300-plus first grade games with the Galloping Greens.

    Every week Randwick’s Shute Shield opponent would ask the big question – “Is Cheika playing this week?”

    A premiership player became a premiership coach before becoming the first to win major tournaments in both hemispheres – the Heineken Cup with Leinster in 2005, and the Super Rugby crown with the Waratahs in 2014, ending a 19-year drought.

    When Cheika took over from Ewen McKenzie as Wallaby coach in November 2014, he had a debut win over Wales 33-18 at Millennium Stadium.

    After 16 internationals Cheika had 11 wins to boast a healthy 68.75 per cent success rate.

    The 16th international was the 2015 Rugby World Cup final, and although the Wallabies were never going to beat the awesome All Blacks, it was no mean feat reaching the decider at Twickenham.

    Since then the Cheika wheels have fallen off.


    (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

    In 18 internationals, the Wallabies have only won eight, or 44.44 per cent, with the Wallabies dropping from two in the world, to fourth.

    Cheika knows only too well he desperately needs a tactical change, and when Stephen Moore unselfishly stood down as captain en route to retirement, the new tactics needed a new skipper.

    Why on earth would under the pump Cheika give Michael Hooper the nod when Hooper’s track record is a whole lot worse than his coach?

    Since rugby turned pro there’s been 19 Wallaby captains, and where does Hooper stand?

    Dead motherless last among the eight skippers who have led the Wallabies in at least ten internationals.

    It’s no surprise John Eales tops the list. Not only was one of the world’s all-time great locks, but he was an inspirational leader who kicked vital goals as well.

    John Eales – 55 captaincy caps – 41 wins – 12 losses – two draws – success rate 76.36 per cent.
    Nathan Sharpe – 10 – 8 3 – 1 – 65 per cent.
    Stirling Mortlock – 29 – 18 – 11 – 0 – 62.06.
    Stephen Moore – 26 – 15 – 11 – 0 – 57.69.
    George Gregan – 59 – 34 – 25 – 0 – 57.62.
    Rocky Elsom – 24 – 13 – 10 – 1 – 56.25.
    James Horwill – 16 – 8 – 8 – 0 – 50.
    Michael Hooper – 15 – 6 – 8 – 1 – 43.33.

    If that wasn’t enough to stop Hooper being Wallaby captain, his abysmal track record with the Waratahs this season should have been the clincher.

    The Waratahs, with 14 Wallabies on their roster totalling 432 caps, finished fourth in the Australian Conference with just four wins from 15 games.

    Michael Hooper Wallabies Australia Rugby Union 2017

    (AAP Image/David Moir)

    The only wins they had were two against the last placed Rebels, and one each over the Reds and the Force.

    The Waratahs lost all five against the Kiwi franchises, but no news in that, so did the other four Australian franchises – 0-25 for the tournament.

    There’s enough ammunition in Hooper’s captaincy at Wallaby and Waratah level to never be captain of either side in the future.

    Now Cheika had burdened himself with a proven failure when he’s failing himself – not what you’d call a positive combination.

    Will Genia should be captain with giant lock Adam Coleman his deputy.

    Genia is automatically a leader driving his forwards and setting his backs on fire, so the captaincy will be an easy fit.

    Coleman will make a great captain after the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and he’ll learn plenty as Genia’s sidekick.

    Repeating Michael Cheika will be forced to make tactical changes, and will be better supported by Genia and Coleman.

    Hooper will never change.

    And who will be the Wallabies first two opponents?

    The All Blacks on August 19 at ANZ, and August 26 at the Eden Park fortress.

    Unless there’s a miracle, the Cheika success rate since the 2015 Rugby Word Cup final will be 20 internationals for just eight wins.

    A success rate of 40 per cent won’t set the turnstiles clicking.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn?t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world?s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (284)

    • August 3rd 2017 @ 4:46am
      MH01 said | August 3rd 2017 @ 4:46am | ! Report

      Spot on David. Here is one fan that has lost any interest in spending money in the wallabies. And judging by everyone’s reaction on the Roar, Hooper is a very bad choice.

      I’ll support the wallabies once a new coach comes on and we get an inspirational leader and not just the best and fairest award winner.

      • Roar Guru

        August 3rd 2017 @ 6:11am
        eagleJack said | August 3rd 2017 @ 6:11am | ! Report

        Heard that all before. Yet here you still are.

        A change in coach and captain will still mean we have some below average athletes who would struggle in most other sports. Look at Folau – came to rugby and was sensational, hitting the ground running. But after years of being surrounded by mediocrity, he too is now a shadow of his former self.

        That’s what happens when the rejects of Australian football choose rugby as their career of choice. And with junior pathways still run at an amateur level, I don’t see this changing anytime soon.

        David, from what I understand Genia doesn’t want the captaincy. He retired from International rugby in 2015, only to return as he loved the vibe Cheika had created. But only to be part of the leadership group.

        Adam Coleman is a captain of the future. But he needs more time around the group. Does he have any leadership experience?

        Unfortunately, Hooper is the best of an average bunch.

        • August 3rd 2017 @ 6:51am
          Fionn said | August 3rd 2017 @ 6:51am | ! Report

          Disagree completely re. athletes. Who are these sub-par athletes you’re talking about?

          No rugby team in the world is as athletic as an Aussie rules team, because Aussie rules requires a higher degree of athleticism, but I don’t see the Aussies as poor athletes. Folau has always been able to jump and run hard, but he has always lacked tactical nous and has been questionable in defence – the reason he left Aussie rules is because he wasn’t very good, and couldn’t kick a football.

          • Roar Guru

            August 3rd 2017 @ 8:25am
            eagleJack said | August 3rd 2017 @ 8:25am | ! Report

            Sub-par when compared to their NRL counterparts. And yes AFL, too, but no doubt they focus more so on aerobic fitness. It’s no secret that cross-coders smile when they talk about rugby “training”. And Im not just talking about fitness levels, but skill levels as well.

            As I mentioned, and this has been the case for a couple of decades, the NRL have always had a clear pathway for juniors. They are put in a professional setup from the 15s. And now with the introduction of the u20s comp, these players have a genuine career pathway laid out for them from a very early age. Meanwhile our rugby talent play in an ever so cute schoolboy competition until they hit 18. Then they roll into colts or a pretty low-key suburban competition.

            The end result are some pretty average players across the board. I mean they are still fit young men, but they aren’t hardened professionals. They are years behind their NRL counterparts. We can see that in the performances of our Super sides. And that then, shock horror, rolls into our national side. The depth of talent is appalling.

            • August 3rd 2017 @ 8:33am
              Fionn said | August 3rd 2017 @ 8:33am | ! Report

              Agree re. AFL, definitely disagree watching NRL. It is hard to compare as they don’t have body shapes like locks or props in NRL, but the centres in rugby and the ariel skills of the backs is so much better in rugby in my opinion. The rugby league forwards are much stronger running through contact, however.

              The fact that NRL players so often struggle to make 1 on 1 tackles says enough.

              I think they’re both different, I don’t know how you can compare. I agree AFL is probably number 1, however, as it is just a more athletic game than either rugby code or soccer.

              • Roar Guru

                August 3rd 2017 @ 8:44am
                eagleJack said | August 3rd 2017 @ 8:44am | ! Report

                When Israel Folau is considered the best aerial expert in rugby, yet is a dime a dozen in the NRL, I think you might be giving rugby backs a little too much credit.

                But my main point is that the depth is lacking in rugby. And I don’t see that changing. What is being done at the junior level to increase their skill levels, fitness levels etc? Are much needed pathways being introduced? Or are the NRL still able to swoop in and pick up some of the best talent as they have genuine professional career pathways laid out?

                Or even beyond that, are the most skilful athletes choosing rugby these days?

                Remember these years Fionn. We will look back on them as the golden years. Rugby is only going further downhill from here.

              • August 3rd 2017 @ 9:38am
                Fionn said | August 3rd 2017 @ 9:38am | ! Report

                Folau was just about the best under the high ball in league too. Come on, that was his primary claim to fame in the code.

                We’ve never had the most skilful atheletes, and our best players were never our best athletes. That’s the good thing about rugby from our perspective, it is mental as much as physical.

              • August 3rd 2017 @ 9:49am
                Fionn said | August 3rd 2017 @ 9:49am | ! Report

                I hope you’re wrong about these being the golden years, my friend, I hope you’re wrong.

              • Roar Guru

                August 3rd 2017 @ 10:15am
                eagleJack said | August 3rd 2017 @ 10:15am | ! Report

                I hope I’m wrong too Fionn. But after watching the decline for years now, without measures being put in place to arrest it, I can’t see us pulling ourselves out of this mess for a long, long time. If ever.

              • Roar Rookie

                August 3rd 2017 @ 11:10am
                piru said | August 3rd 2017 @ 11:10am | ! Report

                Depends what you mean by athletic –

                If you mean aerobic fitness, then yes, no question AFL is out in front.

              • August 3rd 2017 @ 11:14am
                Fionn said | August 3rd 2017 @ 11:14am | ! Report

                Piru, I’m talking athletic fitness too. I’ve no problem playing 3 hours of tennis or 80 mins of rugby, but playing 20-30 even minutes of Aussie rules is unbelievably difficult.

              • August 3rd 2017 @ 2:42pm
                Stephen C said | August 3rd 2017 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

                There is nothing wrong with the athleticism of our players. Given the right conditioning they can be as destructive in Rugby as any other professional in their respective code. Comparing AFL with Rugby is futile. The games are so different and the skill-sets are miles apart.
                The problem with Australian Rugby is coaching and administration.

                We have a national coach who makes obscure and contradictory selections, plays a touch football style in Test Matches and refuses to accept when he’s got something wrong. Cheika seems to think that if we get better at bad game plans, then suddenly the opposition will wilt.

                Pulver and the ARU Board are responsible for allowing Cheika carte blanche over all aspects of the national team. He clearly lacks the vision to see that he has got it wrong – Nathan Grey is a lovely bloke, but has been an abject failure with the Waratahs over the last few years. his come-uppance is a promotion. Stephen Larkham – one of my all-time heroes of the game, but does he have the coaching nous to deliver at the top level? His provincial record would indicate otherwise.

                We need a national selection panel, like they used to have – the coach and two others.
                Thankfully, the ARU has is attempting to fix the coaching issue with Rod Kafer, but this will take some time to reap the rewards. And is he the right man for the job? I would have gone for Dick Marks, but I’m a bit old fashioned.

                If Cheika has another losing season (fewer wins than losses), then he has to go. It doesn’t matter if there is no natural successor…..find one.

                The Wallaby coaching job is not an honourary position.

              • August 3rd 2017 @ 9:48pm
                mzilikazi said | August 3rd 2017 @ 9:48pm | ! Report

                I think NRL passing skills are currently way better than in rugby, Fionn. What do you think ?
                I wonder if a good NRL coach in this area would do the Wallabies a lot of good.

              • August 3rd 2017 @ 9:57pm
                Fionn said | August 3rd 2017 @ 9:57pm | ! Report

                I don’t know that I’ve watched enough NRL recently to comment on the passing level, mzilikazi. But I think a kicking coach would definitely be useful.

              • August 4th 2017 @ 8:02am
                Good Game said | August 4th 2017 @ 8:02am | ! Report

                Definitely agree with your comments above, Fionn except the passing. It’s different dynamic all together. With defence resetting 10 metres every “ruck”, it creates more time and space to get the passes aeay.

                I believe the main difference is that it’s more conjusive to the sifferents styles of passing we see in league.

            • August 3rd 2017 @ 10:49am
              HarryT said | August 3rd 2017 @ 10:49am | ! Report

              Agree eJ.

              The problem now is that the numbers playing rugby in the traditional rugby schools is diminishing too.

              I’ve witnessed first hand the difference between rugby and NRL pathways and there is no comparison. Of course it comes down to money, but every league player has a chance to shine and progress, whereas rugby picks winners and railroads them to the top, leaving so much talent behind.

              • August 3rd 2017 @ 10:17pm
                double agent said | August 3rd 2017 @ 10:17pm | ! Report

                What are all these differences? My boy played both.

            • August 3rd 2017 @ 11:51am
              Mountain Rat said | August 3rd 2017 @ 11:51am | ! Report

              There is an old saying ,play rugby and see the world and play league and see Leeds.
              What a wonderful pathway

            • August 3rd 2017 @ 9:56pm
              Fionn said | August 3rd 2017 @ 9:56pm | ! Report

              I don’t know that I’ve watched enough NRL recently to comment on the passing level, mzilikazi. But I think a kicking coach would definitely be useful.

            • August 3rd 2017 @ 10:08pm
              double agent said | August 3rd 2017 @ 10:08pm | ! Report

              Identifying talent at 15 is a very hit and miss affair. Both codes are full of teenage heroes that turn out to be fairly ordinary players as adults.

        • August 3rd 2017 @ 6:56am
          Ruckin Oaf said | August 3rd 2017 @ 6:56am | ! Report

          “Heard that all before. Yet here you still are”

          Dunno if you’ve paid any attention to the crowd figures at the Wallabies matches so far this year eagleJack.

          But “where the bloody hell are you” seems a better description of the crowds than “yet here you still are”

          • Roar Guru

            August 3rd 2017 @ 8:32am
            eagleJack said | August 3rd 2017 @ 8:32am | ! Report

            No I definitely have noticed it RO. And I’ve been guilty myself. I attended a few Reds games this year and they looked like u7s soccer matches where all the kids just follow the ball. There was little to no structure. I couldn’t see that improving once the players hit the national team. So I skipped the Italian game and instead headed to the beach.

            I used to go to as many Wallabies games as possible. And fly wherever to see them. Not anymore.

            • August 3rd 2017 @ 10:09am
              jigbon said | August 3rd 2017 @ 10:09am | ! Report

              i tihnk as a reds fan and me as an waratahs /OZ rugby fan we are both allied in our desire for a strong game you will thankfully see stiles sidelined next year and tony mcgahan given free reign to MQGA. (Apologies to the Donald) Yippee as stiles has been abysmal as a coach.

            • August 3rd 2017 @ 11:16am
              Perthstayer said | August 3rd 2017 @ 11:16am | ! Report

              To EJ, MH01 and anyone not going to SR/WBs games anymore.

              I am stunned at this “we only sing when we’re winning” attitude.

              Australia rugby union needs all the support it can get at the moment. By supporting, and yes, suffering the losses, you are still supporting rugby union.

              By not attending games you are assisting in the decline of the game. It is like whinging about the government when you haven’t voted.

              • August 3rd 2017 @ 11:25am
                Ruckin' Oaf said | August 3rd 2017 @ 11:25am | ! Report

                It’s not so much the only when winning. I’ve been to most of the Reds games this year and I can recall being there for most of the 2000’s.

                But they way I see it is that not attending Wallabies games is more like voting for the opposition rather than not voting. If you whinge about the government then you have a right to try and vote them out.

                Same as if you have issue with the ARU you’re entitled not to support em. Voting with your feet as it were to (hopefully) send a message.

              • August 3rd 2017 @ 12:33pm
                EnoughisEnough said | August 3rd 2017 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

                I feel the same way. I’ve been a very long term Wallabies fan, but see the current coaching set-up and his team as not being a fair and reasonable representative side. Rather it is nepotism and playing favourites at its worst, and whats more, the results because of this nepotism, favouritism and dumb game plan and coaching are pathetic. Going to watch the Wallabies won’t be on my agenda for the first time in decades. I find it very difficult to support a team that is not there on merit, and a coaching team who all came into their respective roles under dubious circumstances. One of the few ways the fans can register their dissatisfaction is by not turning up. its got nothing to do with being a “fair weather supporter” its got everything to do with being unable to support what is so obviously wrong about the wallabies.

              • August 3rd 2017 @ 2:47pm
                Perthstayer said | August 3rd 2017 @ 2:47pm | ! Report

                I appreciate and agree with 90% of everyone’s upset at the parlous state of the WBs.

                But if not attending is a protest vote then sadly it also doubles as prolonging teh agony. Why? Not only are the players not being cheered on but it also means less income for union (sponsors and turnstiles).

              • August 3rd 2017 @ 2:52pm
                Ruckin' Oaf said | August 3rd 2017 @ 2:52pm | ! Report

                So what’s the alternative ? Everybody attends – the stadiums are full and nothing changes.

              • August 3rd 2017 @ 2:58pm
                G Slacker said | August 3rd 2017 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

                You must be pretty thick if you need this explained to you.

                More fans at games = more money in rugby union = more money to invest in grass roots/coaching development = better high performance outcomes = winning more games = less window lickers like you making ridiculous fair weather fan comments on rugby forums.

              • August 4th 2017 @ 7:34am
                Qld fan said | August 4th 2017 @ 7:34am | ! Report

                More money doesnt eqaul investment in grass roots.
                Thats how we got here.
                Too busy throwing it at old players, has beens and never was

              • August 3rd 2017 @ 5:42pm
                Perthstayer said | August 3rd 2017 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

                GS +1

              • August 3rd 2017 @ 5:50pm
                Scott said | August 3rd 2017 @ 5:50pm | ! Report

                sorry mate.
                I wont be giving anymore money to the ARU.
                I have been a member of the Western Force from the start and as everyone agrees, the way the ARU have handled the reduction in teams has been nothing but a disgrace.

                whether people agree with the decision or not, it was obvious, in the ARUs eyes, the Force were the team to be culled.
                I feel completely let down by the ARU and wont support them again

              • August 3rd 2017 @ 6:43pm
                Hannes said | August 3rd 2017 @ 6:43pm | ! Report

                Scott, my sentiments too as I see going to the game will be giving money to the ARU to fund their legal cost to axe the Force. The ARU will probably use the result of poor crowd attendance in Perth against the Force.

                Our normal routine is to go to Bok town prior to the game, get a bus to take us to the game and back to Bok town to party till late. This year will be different. I have am entertainment room at the back of my home that can host 80 people, with two big screens TV and invited all my ex South African friends for a “bring and braai” and we will watch the Bok/WB test on the big screens. It was not difficult to convince my friends not to attend the test as we are all fed-up with the way the ARU treats WA and at $90/ticket (minimum price for poor seats) it is also expensive. We certainly not contribute to the ARU’s legal fund!

              • August 3rd 2017 @ 6:13pm
                Ruckin' Oaf said | August 3rd 2017 @ 6:13pm | ! Report

                Sure G Slacker sure,

                That’s why for the last few years rugby’s grass roots have been going from strength to strength.

                Try putting some thought into your next comment before you hit the keyboard. I know it ain’t mandatory on the ol interwebs but it sure can’t hurt any.

              • Roar Pro

                August 3rd 2017 @ 6:14pm
                Crazy Horse said | August 3rd 2017 @ 6:14pm | ! Report

                The test in Perth is going to be very interesting. Ordinarily Perth’s South African community added to the Sea of Blue would practically guarantee a sell out of nib. There does appear to be a lot of Scott’s attitude around.

              • August 3rd 2017 @ 6:36pm
                DaveR said | August 3rd 2017 @ 6:36pm | ! Report

                Same as you Scott. I am a foundation member of the Rebels, and the way the ARU have damaged the rugby brand this year (the SR brand, the Wallabies brand and club activities) I will not be giving $1 to the ARU until this board is gone. The reason? They still think they are the right people for the job – so nothing will change.

              • August 3rd 2017 @ 6:55pm
                Hannes said | August 3rd 2017 @ 6:55pm | ! Report

                The only way we may go to the game is if the Force organise some kind of protest e.g. wear something blue to the game or turn our backs to the ARU when the anthem plays. The latter can be misinterpreted as disrespect to the WB or country – so I do not like that option. The outcome of the arbitration should be available however the damage cause to the relationship between WA rugby supporters and the ARU will take decades to fix.

              • August 3rd 2017 @ 7:03pm
                DaveR said | August 3rd 2017 @ 7:03pm | ! Report

                Hannes my position is that both the Force and Rebels should stay, and the ARU board should be replaced. There has been talk in Victoria of separating from the ARU and setting up a new competition. Who knows where that may end. Significant damage in Victoria already done to the Rugby public and the 40 or so clubs.

              • August 3rd 2017 @ 7:22pm
                Wardad said | August 3rd 2017 @ 7:22pm | ! Report

                Hell my blood is as black as a coal miners nether regions but I am happy to go along and support the Wallabies when they play and obviously barrack for the ABs when they play OZ. The money still goes to Oz rugby coffers eh ?
                Gotta just grin and bear it ,hell it was only 2 seasons ago and they were within spitting distance of a 3rd RWC.

              • August 3rd 2017 @ 9:32pm
                Hannes said | August 3rd 2017 @ 9:32pm | ! Report

                DaveR, the lack of oversight by the ARU Board is a serious concern. This Board believed the BS they have been fed. Now that the COO and CFO left and CEO told them he wants to go, the Board will be left with egg on their face. This crisis could trigger a restructuring of the ARU Board as there is wide dissatisfaction with the organization that is captured by NSW interest. As long as the ARU cannot act without favour and with integrity the ARU cannot fulfill its mandate as the Australian wide governing body. It is not unreasonable that the ARU may split up but not likely.

              • August 3rd 2017 @ 10:19pm
                double agent said | August 3rd 2017 @ 10:19pm | ! Report

                Us Aussies are very much fair weather fans.

              • August 4th 2017 @ 8:02am
                G Slacker said | August 4th 2017 @ 8:02am | ! Report

                Sorry Ruckin’ Oaf.

                I wasn’t aware that rugby had been BOOMING the last few years, and had just headed into a downturn this year. HAHAHA

              • August 4th 2017 @ 10:23am
                Ruckin Oaf said | August 4th 2017 @ 10:23am | ! Report

                Hey G Slacker,

                Careful there mate if we start talking about the things you’re NOT aware of we’ll never end.

                You didn’t think that there were plenty of fans at games in the last few years – where have you been. It was only last year there was boasts of the Wallabies v England setting crowd records.

                Heck the money and crowds that flowed into the game from the last Lions tour should have kept the grass-roots flourishing for years.

                This quixotic notion of yours that strong crowd figures will invariably mean strong funding for the grass roots of the game is arrant nonsense. Which seems to be becoming your speciality.

                Once again I’d advise you to think things through then comment – but I think I’d be wasting my time.

              • August 4th 2017 @ 10:31am
                G Slacker said | August 4th 2017 @ 10:31am | ! Report

                Oh yeah Ruckin’ Oaf.

                Way to break crowd attendance records, by playing in boutique stadiums.

                Do you even understand how numbers work?

                If attendance was BOOMING like you are trying to make out, why did they play at Allianz (capacity 45,500) in Sydney instead of at ANZ stadium (capacity 83,500)?

                Oh that’s right, because attendances are down, because of POS “fans” like you, don’t support your team.

                Keep trying to come back at me though, it’s hilarious watching you humiliate yourself with your poorly constructed arguments

              • August 4th 2017 @ 12:23pm
                Ruckin Oaf said | August 4th 2017 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

                Hey G Slacker

                “Do you even understand how numbers work”

                Indeed it do. For example I know that 40,000 is a big number. More than 40,000 is an even bigger number.

                Take your time, wrap your head around it. After you’ve done whatever passes for thinking tell me why the game against the AB’s in 2016 was at ANZ stadium. Is that also a boutique stadium now? Is Suncorp ?

                Tell me what happened to that grassroots boom after the last lions tour when all that money flooded down to them.

                Poorly constructed arguments a terrible thing I guess. But you still haven’t advanced any arguments at all. When you manage to do that we’ll see how you go. I ain’t holding my breath.

            • August 4th 2017 @ 7:30am
              Qld fan said | August 4th 2017 @ 7:30am | ! Report

              I thought crowds would have been huge.
              Afrer all we got qc back!!
              He is just amazing im told

        • August 3rd 2017 @ 7:05am
          soapit said | August 3rd 2017 @ 7:05am | ! Report

          ej i do think the standard of mediocrity are created to an extent

          • August 3rd 2017 @ 9:55am
            Steve said | August 3rd 2017 @ 9:55am | ! Report

            Have to agree, I’m not sure where the rugby codes go. I stopped my Fox subscription at the start of the year so have basically just watched the NRL this year and the standard of athlete in the NRL is awful and rugby in Aus is worse. Maybe it’s just genetics.

            • August 3rd 2017 @ 10:37am
              Link said | August 3rd 2017 @ 10:37am | ! Report

              ^ Especially the NZ warriors, worst NRL team i`ve seen…. Ever..

              • August 3rd 2017 @ 10:47am
                Steve said | August 3rd 2017 @ 10:47am | ! Report

                Magpies of 99 were worse. But I agree, the Warriors are shocking. I guess picking the bones out of what’s left in NZ wouldn’t be too appealing. When Mannering is your best and most committed player it’s a worry.

      • August 4th 2017 @ 7:16am
        PiratesRugby said | August 4th 2017 @ 7:16am | ! Report

        Hooper isn’t even the best 7, let alone best man to be captain. But Foley isn’t the best 10, Hannigan isn’t the best 6, Folau isn’t the best 15. Usually, the national side is the best team a country can put on the field. Not in Australia. So when the Wallabies are actually the national team and not a Waratahs development squad, I’ll start going to games again.

    • August 3rd 2017 @ 5:01am
      John said | August 3rd 2017 @ 5:01am | ! Report


      Surely your writing is better than this.

      ” … the Wallabies were never going to beat the awesome All Blacks”. If Giteau had not gone down so early, Beale would not have come on so early and leaked those tries. If Douglas had not left so early, …… . It was a 2 horse race. I recall the French pushed them pretty close in 2011 as well.

      “Hooper will never change”. What crap. I remember watching an interview of his on a skateboard at the beach when he was little more than a kid. He has certainly changed since then. Why not – he should be allowed to mature without the captaincy burden.

      You want to select a captain who is just returning from France and who hasn’t played locally for several years? Why not Sio or TPN? Wait – I know – bring back Dean Mumm!

      • Columnist

        August 3rd 2017 @ 5:56am
        David Lord said | August 3rd 2017 @ 5:56am | ! Report

        The crap John is your last par.

        • August 3rd 2017 @ 7:12am
          John said | August 3rd 2017 @ 7:12am | ! Report

          You’re a sports journalist, not a psychologist. How do you know he will never change?

          Look at Steve Smith …..

          Like I said below, it’s not the point of the article that he shouldn’t be appointed captain I disagree with.

          I have 4 children and they ALL write better than you.

          Last par? Sarcasm David.

          • August 3rd 2017 @ 10:57am
            marto said | August 3rd 2017 @ 10:57am | ! Report

            John good one mate. You reminded me ,

            Steve Smith another case in point, very similar to Michael Hooper, given so many chances to come good as a player..Was a supposed leg spinner when first selected, but failure after failure after failure after failure we finally thought this bloke is rubbish and he would get the chop but then he finally comes good.( as a batsmen ) no less.. But now he is back acting like a petulant child as he thinks as captain of the national team he is above everyone else

            Guess what John..

            He is another ” New South Welshman ” gifted the top job, like that skateboard hair flicking kid ..

            Hooper is not a leader of men, and never will be ..50 percent of fans hate his guts..I`m sure half his team mates do as well..

            I`ve also noticed Chekko has shafted his pet favourites Competition/Rivals..

            Quade gone ..Positon is all yours Fooley
            Higgers gone.. Position it`s all yours Hannigan
            Poey and Liam gone… Position all yours Hooper ( I`ll also make you captain, so Poey can`t be )
            DHP you are playing wing…Fullback is all yours Foolau
            T Smith gone ..Position is all yours Tiny Tom Robertson

            I won`t go into many others sacked so Chekkos favourites get a free ride ..

            White – Phipps
            Horwill- Skelton
            Fardy- Mumm

            • Roar Guru

              August 3rd 2017 @ 11:58am
              Mark Richmond said | August 3rd 2017 @ 11:58am | ! Report

              If you compare Hooper to a cricket captain, I would suggest he is more like Michael Clarke, great player, but couldn’t pull his team mates or the public behind him.

              • Roar Guru

                August 3rd 2017 @ 1:01pm
                sheek said | August 3rd 2017 @ 1:01pm | ! Report


                I don’t know if that is completely true.

                yes, Clarke strugglled to get the full support & respect of his teammates, as a person.

                But they respected his batting quality & tactical nous.

                As long as he kept winning, which he usually did, everything was okay.

                Much the same could be said about Bradman. Not particularly well liked as a person, but his batting prowess & tactical acumen put him on another planet.

                When a game was being played, both Bradman & Clarke had the full respect of their team mates.

              • August 4th 2017 @ 9:49am
                Gel said | August 4th 2017 @ 9:49am | ! Report

                Was this written in jest?

                I can’t think of another Australian captain with such a list of disputes with his own players aside from Kim Hughes.

                And to even put Clarke and Bradman in the same post, let alone the same sentence is laughable.

                Clarke did not have respect of his players and to suggest otherwise is revisionist.

              • Roar Guru

                August 3rd 2017 @ 1:35pm
                Mark Richmond said | August 3rd 2017 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

                “As long as he kept winning, which he usually did, everything was okay.”

                Ay, there’s the rub. Winning and a winning culture will mask many of the issues that appear to be afflicting Australian Rugby at the moment, just as the 2015 World Cup run did. Unfortunately the current evidence suggests that a winning culture is a long way over the horizon.

              • Roar Guru

                August 3rd 2017 @ 3:56pm
                sheek said | August 3rd 2017 @ 3:56pm | ! Report

                You’re absolutely right there, the winning culture can mask many sins.

                Like West Indies cricket, circa 1975-95. They didn’t worry about the cracks in the system until it was way too late.

            • Roar Rookie

              August 3rd 2017 @ 1:01pm
              papagaai said | August 3rd 2017 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

              Cheika has given Hooper a better chance to succeed by getting rid of on-field/locker room self appointed “leaders” like Cooper and Higgers.

              • August 3rd 2017 @ 1:43pm
                Crash Ball2 said | August 3rd 2017 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

                And Gill. And McMahon. Now, how to ring-fence that pesky Pocock bloke next year? Gottit – MH, you’re Captain!

              • August 4th 2017 @ 7:23am
                PiratesRugby said | August 4th 2017 @ 7:23am | ! Report

                Higgers was a great leader at Rebels. He brought us a lot of success. Players listened to him. Refs listened to him. Fans liked him. We’ve struggled since he left.
                Hoopers “leadership” is non-existent. What’s the record for the most straight losses by a test captain? I think Hooper will set a new mark.

            • August 3rd 2017 @ 10:26pm
              double agent said | August 3rd 2017 @ 10:26pm | ! Report

              Oh no! More NSW chip on shoulder stuff.

        • August 4th 2017 @ 9:10am
          Mickey of Mo$man said | August 4th 2017 @ 9:10am | ! Report

          David Lord, no one in the current wallaby line up has as much passion when they pull on that wallabies jumper, a captain needs lead by example. Yes it can be said his winning record is not great at this point in his career.. but with a side riddled with inconsistent players, young players.. and players that at times look uninterested in being their. selecting Michael Hooper was a bold move but it was also the only viable option.

      • August 3rd 2017 @ 6:05am
        Crash Ball said | August 3rd 2017 @ 6:05am | ! Report

        John, by the end of 2017 Hooper will have 20+ Tests in charge and his numbers will speak for themselves. Plainly speak for themselves.

        Chieka is on life support and after watching them live vs Italy they played like blokes who hadn’t met.

        This is it, this is Chiekas chance to play the game his way with his Captain and group.

        Over to you Michael.

        • August 3rd 2017 @ 7:43am
          Crash Ball2 said | August 3rd 2017 @ 7:43am | ! Report

          Nice moniker CB. Hope it serves you well.

          Interestingly, I would have thought that most professional coaches with such dismal results and (more worryingly) poorly selected, prepared and consistently outthought/outplayed teams would be under more pressure than Cheika appears to get from the St Leonards bunker currently. I often think incumbent management benefits from broader turmoil – people strive for any stability they can get in times of crisis / forced change.

          They shouldn’t.

      • August 5th 2017 @ 10:06pm
        Cynical Play said | August 5th 2017 @ 10:06pm | ! Report

        No it isn’t. This is his eighth anti Hooper article this year. Lord is a fake. Retire.

    • August 3rd 2017 @ 5:06am
      Clyde said | August 3rd 2017 @ 5:06am | ! Report

      A bit harsh calling him a proven failure. Give him a fair chance to captain at test level before awarding the label.

      • August 3rd 2017 @ 5:25am
        MH01 said | August 3rd 2017 @ 5:25am | ! Report

        Hooper has 43% win ratio at the wallabies And less said about the waratahs the better. I fail why he needs more than 15 games as captain to find his feet……

        • August 3rd 2017 @ 9:40am
          jameswm said | August 3rd 2017 @ 9:40am | ! Report

          He’s only been a fill-in captain so far, and who have those tests been against? I can’t find it.

          You do need to put those stats into context.

          • Roar Rookie

            August 3rd 2017 @ 12:07pm
            piru said | August 3rd 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

            I think the point of the article is that this was a chance to move into a new era, and instead Cheika has decided to remain in the old one

      • August 3rd 2017 @ 6:20am
        Crash Ball said | August 3rd 2017 @ 6:20am | ! Report

        Hoopers win rate will be 35% by the end of August, with the Bakkie and Argies waiting he’ll exit the Rugby Championship with something approaching 34%.

        Happy yet Clyde ? 22 Tests ? Worst win rate of any modern captain. Who should go first Chiek or Hooper ?

        • August 3rd 2017 @ 6:50pm
          Dexter The Hamster said | August 3rd 2017 @ 6:50pm | ! Report

          So it all depends on who the captain is?? Pick a better captain and we are sure to beat those pesky All Blacks.

    • August 3rd 2017 @ 5:50am
      Rt said | August 3rd 2017 @ 5:50am | ! Report

      Genia captain?

      Personally my view is your captain is an automatic selection who hopefully plays the entire game.

      I like Coleman as an option because quite often captaincy tempers hotheadedness.

      I think Hooper is a talented player but his lack of gravitas ought to be apparent to all staff.

    • Columnist

      August 3rd 2017 @ 5:52am
      David Lord said | August 3rd 2017 @ 5:52am | ! Report

      So MHO1, you are admitting Michael Hooper is a slow learner, but that suggestion didn’t apply to six of the eight Wallaby captaincy stats above.

      • August 3rd 2017 @ 2:24pm
        MH01 said | August 3rd 2017 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

        slow learner……I don’t actually see him improving as Captain. leadership is not about the individual , Hoopers approach is to charge and expect everyone to follow, the ones that don’t , you get rid of…..that is not leadership….that is leading to failure.

        Anyway, wallabies biggest problems are nepotism and it’s protected entitled culture , and blame culture on undeserving players such as higgers, why would you want the be part of a team where players are not given a go and dropped without a reason, while underperforming players are always first picked.

      • August 3rd 2017 @ 6:57pm
        Dexter The Hamster said | August 3rd 2017 @ 6:57pm | ! Report

        David, my issue with you position is this. You are saying that the win rate is the only judge of a captain. Surely the team they are leading and the quality of the opposition are key components to the equation. You can only do so much.

        What was Allan Border’s win % after 20 Tests? Must have been a terrible captain.

    • August 3rd 2017 @ 6:14am
      G Len n said | August 3rd 2017 @ 6:14am | ! Report

      The Captain of the Wallabies sets the tone on and off the field.
      Think of some of the men that have lead the team. Slack, Horan, Eales, Gregan, Mortlock…..they all were men of quality, assured in their performance and the tone they set around the team, media and public.
      Hooper still looks like a kid from the beach, unsure of his team mates and surrounds. He doesn’t set an example, he finds excuses.
      Select a leader of substance…..and we will be rewarded with a team of substance.

      • August 3rd 2017 @ 6:22am
        Ruckin' Oaf said | August 3rd 2017 @ 6:22am | ! Report

        I’ll bet that he captains really well at training though.

      • August 3rd 2017 @ 6:23am
        Crash Ball said | August 3rd 2017 @ 6:23am | ! Report

        G Len you’ve been reading Legacy Bro !! I bet Kafer has a copy with his lunch box, in his gym bag, under his pillow …

      • August 3rd 2017 @ 9:42am
        jameswm said | August 3rd 2017 @ 9:42am | ! Report

        “Hooper still looks like a kid from the beach, unsure of his team mates and surrounds. He doesn’t set an example, he finds excuses.”

        We will have to agree to disagree. I don’t find him at all like that. quite the opposite in fact.

        • August 3rd 2017 @ 10:29pm
          double agent said | August 3rd 2017 @ 10:29pm | ! Report

          Agree James.

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