Michael Hooper and Daly Cherry-Evans don’t deserve to be captains

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    While the knives are out for Wallaby coach Michael Cheika and his Manly rugby league counterpart Trent Barrett, they aren’t the ones missing the tackles and playing well below par.

    The same can’t be said for Wallaby captain Michel Hooper, nor his Manly counterpart Daly Cherry-Evans.

    At the weekend, Hooper oversaw one of Australian rugby’s most diabolical performances, down 54-6 with 30 minutes to go against the All Blacks.

    That the men in black took the foot off the pedal, and the Wallabies decided to make some passes stick, meant the final scoreline was 54-34.

    A major embarrassment.

    A week ago, Manly had a top-four finish in their sights for the finals, but they let a 20-6 halftime lead against the Tigers slip, ending in a 30-26 defeat.

    Yesterday, Manly obviously thought they just had to turn up to beat the Bulldogs, the worst attacking team in the NRL.

    Against all predictions, the Bulldogs led 12-10 at the break, the first time in 24 rounds they had managed ten points by halftime.

    But the Dogs barked louder in the second session, scoring 18 points, with Manly only adding to their ten with a converted try in the final seconds.

    Both the Wallabies and Manly played with an arrogance rarely seen in both teams. The captains did nothing, repeat nothing, to correct the faults.

    As a result, both teams copped a hiding.

    As a strong defender of Cheika as Wallaby coach for two reasons – he’s the best man for the job and there’s no replacement in sight – he has blinkers on when it comes to the captaincy.

    Hooper captained the Waratahs to four wins from 15 games in the Super Rugby tournament, ‘boasting’ a win ratio of 26.67 per cent.


    You would think Cheika would take note of that pathetic stat, but no, he appointed Hooper the Wallabies’ captain.

    Saturday night’s horrendous loss was Hooper’s 10th in 16 Tests – a success rate of 37.5 per cent.

    As for the Wallabies’ performances since the 2015 Rugby World Cup final, when the men on gold were ranked number two in the world, they have won just eight of 19 international – a success rate of 42.1 per cent.

    And where are the Wallabies in the world rankings? Fifth, and falling.

    Let’s see what Michael Cheika does for the second Bledisloe-Rugby Championship clash with the All Blacks in Dunedin on Saturday.

    Michael Hooper Wallabies Australian Rugby Union Championship Bledisloe Cup 2017

    (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

    The same question must be applied to Manly.

    For the last three halves, Manly has been an embarrassment and bitter disappointment to their fans.

    They lett a 20-6 lead go begging against the Tigers, and yesterday let the worst attacking team in the NRL in for six tries.

    How on earth could that happen?

    Very easily.

    For the entire game, Manly were on their heels with the Bulldogs in possession, gift-wrapping a minimum 10 to 15 metres with every play the ball.

    And what did Cherry-Evans do to correct the glaring fault? Nothing. Zip, zero, zilch.

    And there was Barrett in the coaching box grimacing at every play.

    And what did he tell his team at the break?

    Up the energy and enthusiasm.

    It was not forthcoming.

    Now Manly is eighth on the ladder and no certainty to be in the finals.

    They play the Warriors away, a danger game, and the Panthers at home, even more dangerous.

    And when the Wallabies cop another rugby lesson in Dunedin, Hooper will still be captain.

    And when the Warriors beat Manly, Cherry-Evans will still be captain.

    Both Michael Cheika and Trent Barrett need to correct the glaring wrongs or eventually pay the ultimate penalty.

    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 (38)

    • August 21st 2017 @ 8:03am
      advrider-oz said | August 21st 2017 @ 8:03am | ! Report

      I agree Hooper is showing poor captaincy but Moore did too. Who would be better? Seems to me its a poisoned chalice right now? Pocock when he stops saving the world, Coleman when he challenges his aggression – Genia after last test is too slow and won’t hold his role, Foley has enoigh on his plate – who?

      • Roar Guru

        August 21st 2017 @ 9:24am
        Adam said | August 21st 2017 @ 9:24am | ! Report

        I actually think Moore has the ear of the referee. Certainly more than Hooper does. During the very few scrums in the first half Moore had a number of conversations with the referee where he was referred to by his first name, in a quite friendly manner. Sure he isn’t a John Eales or George Gregan, but he has a lot more respect than Hooper ever hopes to have.

        • Columnist

          August 21st 2017 @ 10:18am
          David Lord said | August 21st 2017 @ 10:18am | ! Report

          Adam. George Gregan never had the respect of referees when he was Wallaby skipper. There was a very valid reason as Gregan was so constant in chirping referees, he forgot to service his backline,

          • August 21st 2017 @ 10:22am
            Fionn said | August 21st 2017 @ 10:22am | ! Report

            Gregan was far better than that. We got away with so many scrum infringements from his complaining, and, yes, he did have his backline’s ear. Aside from Mowen he was the last great captain that we had.

            • Roar Guru

              August 21st 2017 @ 11:50am
              Adam said | August 21st 2017 @ 11:50am | ! Report

              Yet we lost Ben Mowen to that outdated system of not allowing overseas players to play for the Wallabies. My brother and I have discussed the issues with this rule at some length. Sure we want a strong local comp but at what costs? The players will inevitably go anyway so why not just pick the best Australian players? The Socceroos do it and the team is much stronger than if they were just selecting from the A-League.

            • August 21st 2017 @ 3:48pm
              Bakkies said | August 21st 2017 @ 3:48pm | ! Report

              Mowen signed a contract renewal with the Brumbies but the ARU wouldn’t come to an agreement.

              I hate referees referring to players by their first name.

              • August 21st 2017 @ 7:35pm
                Fionn said | August 21st 2017 @ 7:35pm | ! Report

                Had he signed a renewal with the Brumbies, Bakkies? All I know is that the ARU wouldn’t pay a top up and so he went overseas, having to look after his family first and foremost.

              • August 21st 2017 @ 8:46pm
                cuw said | August 21st 2017 @ 8:46pm | ! Report

                “I hate referees referring to players by their first name.”

                and players doing same to the ref. 3rd BIL test – “Romain , Romain , the Law says …” 🙂

                coming from cricket , i prefer the term “sir” – though it is old fashioned colonialism.

              • August 21st 2017 @ 8:57pm
                Fionn said | August 21st 2017 @ 8:57pm | ! Report

                Ugh, pathetic. He may not have been the world’s best 8, but he was very underrated, and he was the leader that Australian rugby needed since Gregan retired.

              • August 22nd 2017 @ 6:32pm
                Charlie Turner said | August 22nd 2017 @ 6:32pm | ! Report

                Hodgo’s the best captain the Wallabies never had.

    • August 21st 2017 @ 8:53am
      Wild Eagle said | August 21st 2017 @ 8:53am | ! Report

      In 2013 the Cowboys had a roster which included Thurston, Morgan , the Austalian props in Scott and Tamau as well as Taumololo in the pack along with plenty of other quality 1st graders and rep players. They had a poor season and finished eighth. The captains were Thurston and Scott.

      DCE has an inferior and young roster which has had a similar season in many ways. Two of their best players Brett Stewart and Steve Matai are taking up a large chunk of the cap yet have not played one game.

      I would rate Thurstons effort as a captain that year way below DCE’s this year but some players seem to get blamed for everything and DCE seems to be one of those.

      Tim Mannah has been the Eels captain for a long time and the Eels have had some appalling seasons but he is not blamed for this. Barrett , Fulton and half the players have been scapegoats for Manly’s apparent failings over the last 2 years and now DCE’s captaincy is the reason.

      • August 21st 2017 @ 12:27pm
        terrence said | August 21st 2017 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

        Wild Eagle, I think poor old ”Lordy Lordy me…” is just trying to use DCE to deflect some attention from the very perilous state of his beloved rugby union in Australian (on-field performances and the off-field disasters). It’s one of Lordy’s poorer recent theories (from not that strong a base) and it’s a sad reflection upon him.

        Your points above are strong, so I highly doubt that Lordy will respond (though he might now that I have prompted him).

      • Roar Rookie

        August 21st 2017 @ 12:32pm
        Kcbear said | August 21st 2017 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

        I think the David is correct, I’m a very passionate manly fan & totally understand where ur coming from wildeagle but as a coach Barrett doesn’t seem to have address the problem in defence continuously leaking in points. Now we all know it’s not Barretts fault but there hasn’t been any signs at all if he as a coach has applied any attention to it over the last 5games & that’s where it all counts for the coach aswel as the captain to address the situation & work bloody hard at that as a team before worrying bout out scoring the opposition AT THIS STAGE OF THE SEASON LEADING INTO THE PLAY-OFFS. I understand all the things that are n can be said or excused to me there jus piss poor excuses laziness in effort on behalf the team the captain n the coach when uve proven consistency previously. DCE has got what it takes as a player let alone as captain in addressing this to his teammates he’s won & played in finals football. All I’m saying as a supporter these things have been quite evident in the last 5games & as for the personal that are in place to implement drills tactics changing players etc to improve in addressing these practices by either the coaching staff & or the leadership group in the team more so the captain. If you watched yesterday game against the bulldogs u can see what David is talking about, it’s jus not good enough for anyone thats involved plays & supports manly, prime example is storm although they bring in their bull sh** part of their game if it ain’t working out for them but they are very well disciplined coached side being professional bout their business, & that’s how u have to approach these issues if your in a position to do so & their along the same lines as what David has illustrated on here he is 1000% correct. It’s a long way to the top if gunna rock n roll.
        U can’t believe ur gunna do it going in half cocked. Maybe we can maybe we can outscore the opposition giving them headstarts but that’s like one in I don’t know how much cause anything is possible with any of manlys teams through out their history

    • Columnist

      August 21st 2017 @ 9:03am
      David Lord said | August 21st 2017 @ 9:03am | ! Report

      advrider-oz you make many valid points, but for mine Adam Coleman is the best of them, He has football nous, with enough common sense to accept the aggression challenge as a vital part of the responsibility

      All the great captains have never needed a relayed message from the coach to right the wrongs in the run of play.

      Rugby’s had Andrew Slack, Nick Farr-Jones, Michael Lynagh, and John Eales, rugby league has had Bobby Fulton, Wally Lewis, Mal Meninga, Darren Lockyer, and currently Cameron Smith to individually make necessary changes en route.

      Michael Hooper and Daly Cherry-Evans have never shown that in-built natural ability to be inspiring captains,


      • August 21st 2017 @ 9:36am
        OZ Mike said | August 21st 2017 @ 9:36am | ! Report

        Agreed Hooper is a poor choice. I only have to go back to his comments ‘supporting’ Beale after text gate to prove he’s not genuine leadership material.

        Sticking to rugby Hooper is exactly the opposite of what we need at the top. However any alternative suggestion would be tenuous at best. I don’t think there’s a person in the team who screams leadership potential and can back it up by guaranteeing their selection which is perhaps where Hooper, at least for now, has the inside running.

        In the pack perhaps Coleman is the closest to ‘locking down’ his spot and is not an on field leader in my eyes.

        And as for the backs, to put it bluntly I wouldn’t like to hear any of them considered. Making Foley a vc in the face of deafening criticism was a ‘mate’ move by Cheika. Its impossible to justify.

      • Roar Guru

        August 21st 2017 @ 10:37am
        eagleJack said | August 21st 2017 @ 10:37am | ! Report

        Hmmmm I’m going to leave the Wallabies captain debate as it’s been done to death. There simply aren’t any leaders in Australian rugby. Adam Coleman hasn’t even captained the Force. I’d like to see him grow as a captain at provincial level before being given the Wallabies gig. And Hooper’s 4 wins at Super level is on par with other Aussie captains this year. No real standouts. I mean Sam Carter had 6 (from 16) but is that really all that special?

        But on DCE – most experts had Manly definite bottom 4 before a ball was kicked in 2017. With many suggesting they would get the spoon. Barrett hands DCE the captaincy and suddenly they are pushing for a Top 4 spot and it looks likely they will play finals once again. A large part of that is DCE’s form. He’s currently 2nd behind Cam Smith on the Dally M leaderboard. Sure, he was poor yesterday but it has been well documented that they should have rested him. He was bed-ridden all week with the flu. And it showed in his lack of energy.

        Ditching DCE after one bad performance would be a terrible idea. The players have responded well to him in 2017, and his form has been inspiring. At this stage he’s the only one who can catch Cam Smith for the Dally M. That gives you an idea about how he has been performing.

        • Roar Rookie

          August 21st 2017 @ 10:45am
          piru said | August 21st 2017 @ 10:45am | ! Report

          Adam Coleman hasn’t even captained the Force.

          He captained them against the Rebs when Hodgo was out

          • Roar Guru

            August 21st 2017 @ 10:59am
            eagleJack said | August 21st 2017 @ 10:59am | ! Report

            Yep, apologies I did know that. Still, it’s not a huge leadership CV to fall back on.

            I like the guy. Mid-way through last year I said he has long term captain written all over him. He’ll be one of the first picked Wallabies going forward. But I want to see him take the reigns full-time at the Force.

          • August 21st 2017 @ 10:56pm
            milan said | August 21st 2017 @ 10:56pm | ! Report

            Well seen as he has captained the force once, that changes everything.lLets make him wallabies captain.

            Cmon Piru

      • August 21st 2017 @ 10:38am
        Ex force fan said | August 21st 2017 @ 10:38am | ! Report

        The Tahs have a stranglehold on the Wallabies and the ARU at this moment by supplying the coach, defensive coach, captain, co-captain to the majority of the players. The Tahs have been rewarded by the ARU when they dropped McKenzie so I cannot see any non-Warratah players be the captain in this team environment? The Wallabies at this moment is a re-enforced (pun intended) Tah side. Coleman cannot be the captain until this environment change.

      • August 21st 2017 @ 11:32am
        Stuart Neil Bywater said | August 21st 2017 @ 11:32am | ! Report

        David, I don’t understand why you disregard Pocock as captain. He is intelligent, thoughtful calm and highly regarded by referees.

        • August 21st 2017 @ 1:25pm
          Stuart Neil Bywater said | August 21st 2017 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

          The silly penalty that Hooper gave at the ruck in the eighth minute changed the tone of the game. Until then the WBs had applied sufficient pressure on the AB to cause them to give two penalties close to their line.

        • August 21st 2017 @ 10:10pm
          Ex force fan said | August 21st 2017 @ 10:10pm | ! Report

          His is not a Tah and does not have the support of the playing group that picked the coach

      • August 21st 2017 @ 10:02pm
        PiratesRugby said | August 21st 2017 @ 10:02pm | ! Report

        David, Pocock is the best choice. If he starts at 7 where he is the best in the world, he commands the respect of players, opposition and refs. He’s being undermined by Cheika by being played out of position.
        Obviously I agree with you about Hooper.
        Coleman is too young. He’s just got a handful of tests. If he can stand playing under Hooper (Cheika will never back down) and copping at least two more years of defeats while maintaining his own form, then he would be a good choice.
        I used to like Higginbotham as a captain , when I saw what he did for the Rebels. He often led the stats. The players and fans loved him. And he seemed very easy in his manner with refs. The Rebels had some great wins under his leadership and have suffered since he left. I’d love to know what it is that national coaches dislike about him.

    • August 21st 2017 @ 10:36am
      Wolman said | August 21st 2017 @ 10:36am | ! Report

      You don’t deserve to be a journalist

    • August 21st 2017 @ 11:17am
      DLKN said | August 21st 2017 @ 11:17am | ! Report

      As sure as the sun coming up in the east, another DL article that absolves Cheika of any blame.

      Which is pretty much what Cheika did when he said words to the effect that “it wasn’t our systems (i.e. coaching), it was the players’ inability to execute the plan”. And then he admitted that the players have technical flaws with their tackling.

      It’s not the first time Cheika has thrown the players under the bus for not following his genius plans. No apparent contemplation by Cheika that maybe, just maybe, his plans were wrong.

      But here’s my question – if Cheika is unable to get the players to execute the game plan, is this a sign that he’s lost / losing the dressing room?

      And once that happens, you don’t get it back.

      When was the last time a Wallaby team put a test opponent to the sword? I’m sick of watching us struggle to squeak past the likes of Fiji and Italy, and look utterly outclassed by others to the extent that we’re expected to take positives from that debacle on the weekend.

      As for the crowd figure, perhaps it’s time to revisit the arrangement that automatically gives Sydney a Bledisloe Cup match every single year. Especially when Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne have to plead for scraps, and all three cities have / will soon have stadia capable of holding a crowd of at least close to Saturday’s numbers.

      • Columnist

        August 21st 2017 @ 1:08pm
        David Lord said | August 21st 2017 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

        Not so DLKN. if Michael Cheika doesn’t dump Michael Hooper as captain and make radical selection changes, he will fall on his own sword.

        Cheika has vision, it’s overtime he used it to bring back the Wallaby tradition of taking on the world’s best, and beating them,

        Being flogged by cricket scores is not the Australian way, and if the Socceroos don’t qualify for the World Cup, they will cop the same derision the Wallabies are copping now.

        Both teams are not pulling their weight, nor earning the big bucks.

    • August 21st 2017 @ 11:58am
      Sydneysider said | August 21st 2017 @ 11:58am | ! Report

      I’m not sure who posted this, but someone out there on the net calls Hooper “the ballboy”.

      When I watched him shake hands with the other All Blacks players after the game, that label made sense.

      He looks like a ballboy when compared to the bigger, stronger NZ players. Makes me laugh.

      He definitely isn’t captaincy material. The Wallabies need to find some tall timber for their backrow positions. Maybe the AFL infiltrating the private schools has taken most of that tall timber away….

      • August 21st 2017 @ 6:22pm
        Craig said | August 21st 2017 @ 6:22pm | ! Report

        Bit of a cheap shot. Hooper may not be the biggest 7 in the business but I defy you to find one that consistently fronts up, works his guts out for 80 minutes, makes more breaks, etc. I’ll agree he’s not (yet) captain material for a number of reasons but a failure to lead by example in effort is not one of them.

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