False dawns: The Wallabies’ two incredible halves and the Boks’ win streak

Harry Jones Roar Guru

By Harry Jones, Harry Jones is a Roar Guru

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238 Have your say

    Whose dawn is more false: two halves of perfect rugby against the best in the world that ended in two losses, or five wins with 35 points a game against uninterested foes?

    Maybe both the Wallabies and Springboks are deluded. Maybe one or the other is on the rise, or perhaps both are better than 2016 suggested.

    Both have inherent weaknesses. Both have several stars.

    The Boklings are small in the back three and at least one wing, Raymond ‘The Matador’ Rhule, is afraid of tackling. The Wallabies have a fragile tight five, which is weak at scrum time, and one hooker cannot scrum while another who cannot throw.

    Kootchie Koo’s Boklings do seem, at least, to know what they want to do: use their superior fitness to take their foe out to deep waters, and then drown them in late scoring.

    The two dozen tries scored by South Africa in 2017 have been mostly from quick passing and straight lines; not mauls. The loose trios should be equally fast, but the Boks are winning more turnovers.

    Neither team has a particularly good flyhalf. RAF bomber pilot Bernard Foley is a pole dancer, and Elton Beltin’ Jantjies is more moody than Joe.

    The Wallabies do have a world class nine, while the Boklings have a few journeymen clearing from the base.

    But the real problem for Cheika’s men may be speed; the Boklings have too much of it, and the Aussies are a little slow nowadays.

    Lineouts will be intriguing; but in all likelihood, the scrum battle will be ugly for the home team in Perth.

    There are a few mismatches possible: Will Genia would probably beat Ross Cronje by ten metres in a twenty-metre race, Courtnall Skosan could probably win a footrace with Dan Haylett-Petty or Israel Folau running backwards, Folau in the air against any Saffa back, big Eben Etzebeth and little Michael Hooper deal very differently with the referee, ‘Beast’ Mtawarira has 90 caps’ worth of learning to scrum tricky, and Ned Hanigan will probably not enjoy tackling Jean-Luc du Preez.

    This might be the pivotal match in the Rugby Championship this season. Win, and the Boks will probably stay alive until the October 7 Test at Newlands against the mighty All Blacks. Lose, and it’s another boring tournament among the also-rans.

    It’s always darkest before the dawn, but whose dawn is false?

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    The Crowd Says (238)

    • August 31st 2017 @ 2:33am
      Jock Cornet said | August 31st 2017 @ 2:33am | ! Report

      Great article. We don’t know if we have improved or not. I think reality will come back to bite us when the Boks play in front of a home crowd and the ARU wallabies get booed off the park. Boks by 20. No scrum no contest. We need Nigel Owens as ref as he doesn’t penalise non existent weak scrums if we have a chance. But then again Beale, Foley and Izzy may just turn it on. We need TPN to start.

      • Roar Guru

        August 31st 2017 @ 3:08am
        Harry Jones said | August 31st 2017 @ 3:08am | ! Report

        Jock: Who is the ref? I agree that simply rewarding scrum dominance is a far better “guess” than what some refs do (imagine they can discern fulcrums and leverages and elbow shifts).

        • August 31st 2017 @ 10:21am
          Adsa said | August 31st 2017 @ 10:21am | ! Report

          Glen Jackson and Ben O,’Keeffe are the refs appointed to Wallyb v Boks matches.

      • August 31st 2017 @ 7:01pm
        PiratesRugby said | August 31st 2017 @ 7:01pm | ! Report

        Foley has nothing to turn on. But if Genia plays another Motm performance and Folau and Beale continue to play to potential then it will be good. U
        I don’t know if I’m being overly optimistic but I think there’s a bright side to our scrum being smashed by the ABs. Although the Wallaby scrum was on skates, it didn’t collapse. The pack did everything they could to stay up and stay straight. Generally, all Australian teams have scrimmaged fairly honestly over the last 2 or 3 years. I think TPN is an obvious starter and Coleman should be back. Perhaps Hanigan will be dropped. The Wallabies will be working on their scrum this fortnight. I don’t see a repeat of Dunedin in Perth.

        • Roar Guru

          September 1st 2017 @ 12:47am
          Harry Jones said | September 1st 2017 @ 12:47am | ! Report

          Foley needs to turn on the kicking boots when he exits.

          OZ has kicked 21 times in RC; 16 of those were exit kicks. Foley kicked 11 of those.

          His average metres/kick is 21.6.

          Compare Elton Jantjies’ 34.8 m average per kick.

          That’s a lot of pressure relieved or stuck under.

          • September 2nd 2017 @ 2:00pm
            PiratesRugby said | September 2nd 2017 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

            Foley holds the Wallabies back in so many ways. His exit kicking, kicking for touch on penalties, kicking for goal, drop goal kicking, tackling, rucking, and long passing are all inferior to other tier 1 fly halves and barely acceptable at provincial level. His playmaking is pedestrian even for a super rugby 10. His running rarely challenges the defence.
            Anyone you mention as a possible replacement for Foley is instantly criticised for not being a world beating 10. Their skills, temperament, speed, form and experience are all immediately dismissed and we go back to Foley who is worse at every aspect of the game. Why is that? He’s always been second rate. If he’s “developing”, then where’s the improvement? He’s had three years and dozens of tests and zero improvement.

    • Roar Guru

      August 31st 2017 @ 2:45am
      biltongbek said | August 31st 2017 @ 2:45am | ! Report

      Good question Harry.

      Forget false dawns, at least the Sun is coming up for both teams. If you look at the Bok combinations and assess them as objectively as possible.

      Tight five is technically good at scrum time, solid at line out and quite mobile, several of them are good at turning over ball at the breakdown. Can’s really complain about the selections in the tight five.

      Back row provides extra option at line out time, are more ball carriers than pilferers, so perhaps one demon at the breakdown is required.

      Our half back pairing of Cronje and Jantjies is solid, not spectacular, Cronje does the basics well, clear the scrum/ruck efficiently and accurately. But he won’t excite you, sadly there is nobody better.

      Jantjies makes me always feel he is one match away from a total flop. But then currently nobody else will do a better job. It is the first time in a long time that the Springboks play off 10 rather than 9, and it is a good thing, our rugby is more exciting and positive.

      Our midfield is a concern, not a major concern, until they play the All Blacks, but for this coming weekend not a big worry.

      Our back three is my biggest worry, although there is a lot of pace, it doesn’t fill me with confidence, apart from Coetzee you can’t really say they have been brilliant thus far the season.

      We need better selections in the back three, but for some reason Alister Coetzee thinks that is where he can hide.

      The Wallabies at this point in time can be as brilliant as they can be poor, as committed as they can be non plussed.

      It is certainly going to be the match that either turns this RC on its head, or turn it into another predictable end.

      • Roar Guru

        August 31st 2017 @ 3:10am
        Harry Jones said | August 31st 2017 @ 3:10am | ! Report

        Great post, BB. The silly thing about keeping Rhule in the side when he will NOT tackle, is that we have an obvious solution (who just left for Japan).

      • August 31st 2017 @ 5:03am
        Blue Horned Mike said | August 31st 2017 @ 5:03am | ! Report

        What about Jano Vermaak? He can certainly perform.

        • Roar Guru

          August 31st 2017 @ 5:05am
          biltongbek said | August 31st 2017 @ 5:05am | ! Report

          He has the experience, but I have no idea what form he is in

        • Roar Guru

          August 31st 2017 @ 5:26am
          Harry Jones said | August 31st 2017 @ 5:26am | ! Report

          Blue Horned Mike–for me, Jano was the form 9 in the SA conferences. And he adds pace. Problem was injuries.

      • August 31st 2017 @ 2:57pm
        PiratesRugby said | August 31st 2017 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

        The Wallabies aren’t “developing”. They are just treading water and struggling to stay in touch with the other tier 1 teams. They are hamstrung by the coaching and selection of Cheika. The Bokke are coming through a difficult period. They appear to finally be coalesced into a fighting unit. This game and this series will be a major milestone toward RWC19 for the Bokke. If they can beat Australia in Perth then they’ve made major progress. But even if the Wallabies win, there are still fundamental flaws in coaching and selection which will cripple the Wallabies for years. We have great individual players but an unbalanced team that lacks cohesion. The same description applies to both our attack and defence, forwards and backs. The fact that we nearly beat NZ is being used to conceal the fact that we’ve lost to Scotland, Ireland, England and NZ in the last 2 years.

    • Roar Guru

      August 31st 2017 @ 2:53am
      The Neutral View From Sweden said | August 31st 2017 @ 2:53am | ! Report

      A nice little short story Harry

      Agree, this game will hopefully give us lots of answers.

      My gut feeling is with the Boks. The only thing I think can ruin it for them is if they try to force their patterns and tactics too much and start playing all guns blazing kamikaze rugby. If they just trust what they have been doing so far this year and put in the hard yards for 80 minutes, I say the Boks looks more settled and complete, and it would take an moster effort for the Wallabies to beat them, even in Perth.

      We shall not forget that Wallabies had a terrible June series against arguably weaker opponents than the Boks faced in June. And the Boks June series was pretty good.

      I think you are a bit harsh on Elton and his haircut. I thought he proved himself well against the Pumas when he started the game with missing two sitters, but he just kept going and both played and kicked excellently after that, and created one try and made one himself also. I am not saying he is a champion player, but he sure showed the signs of a champion player with that performance.

      I am really curious how Kolis will perform against WB and of course the AB’s. He is on track for a nomination for World Player of the Year I say, and if he continues to perform like he has so far this season against the AB’s, he will certainly be on that World Player of the Year short list.

      And finally. I have been holding back, but now I have to say it: “I told you so!”. For years I have been going on about making Eben the Boks captain, but all Saffa’s have told me he can’t do the job, he has never been captain before and yada yada yada.
      I think Eben is playing better than ever since he became captain and handles the refs really well.

      • Roar Guru

        August 31st 2017 @ 3:14am
        Harry Jones said | August 31st 2017 @ 3:14am | ! Report

        Howzit, Olaf Knutssen.

        You were right about EE. I was wrong (and he might be my favourite player; I just didn’t think he could talk to refs). I also like his 5 offloads in 2 games! He’s only ever been carded once in all of his tests; and that was not rolling away. But I agree: he’s cut out the niggle.

        Kolisi is being pushed by Kriel; and vice versa. Healthy competition between the two. I thought Kriel was superb in Salta, and he is actually playing to the ball more than Kolisi, who is defending like mad and linking smart.

        Jantjies is great when his team is winning big. I just don’t trust him when it’s 10-14 down in the 75th minute.

        • Roar Guru

          August 31st 2017 @ 12:14pm
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | August 31st 2017 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

          Kolisi and Kriel are a good example when 1 + 1 = 3. Both of them will have a little baptism of fire in the next two rounds of TRC.

          As stated above, I am confident the Boks means business this year. And my concern about losing their focus and start playing kamikaze rugby with their heads under the arm is a minor one. Pumas certainly tried to niggle them in Salta, but I thought the Boks response was great. They held their ground, did not get intimidated and kept the scoreboard ticking.

          Eben doesn’t really need to niggle to impose himself. I actually think he is even more “scary” when he is calm. Just like in real life, there is nothing scarier than a really nice and positive 120-kilo muscle guy blows the pipes and goes berzerk. And everyone knows that Eben is da wrong boy to **** with.

          • Roar Guru

            August 31st 2017 @ 8:51pm
            Harry Jones said | August 31st 2017 @ 8:51pm | ! Report

            He’s only ever been carded once (yellow) in his enforcer career

      • September 2nd 2017 @ 9:49am
        taylorman said | September 2nd 2017 @ 9:49am | ! Report

        Yes Eben would be a Dylan Hartly type inspired choice. I think that would be good for him now hes in the mature part of his career.

        Also agree Kolisi could be on the shortlist as POTY, with Itoje, Davies and perhaps a couple of other good 6N/ Lions performers. All tests count so England probably get second chances with their Argie bound players as well.

        No oz or ABs jump out at me and the better players so far are either carrying injuries, not playing a full season…B Smith, Crotty etc. Retallick or Whitelock probably the best bet so far.

        A much better mix to the season this year.

        • September 2nd 2017 @ 5:29pm
          FunBus said | September 2nd 2017 @ 5:29pm | ! Report

          Yep; very fair summing up T-man. I think part of the problem is that people often confuse best player of the YEAR with best player in the world. I think, at the moment, virtually all the candidates for best player in the world are ABs as they’ve done it consistently over a number of seasons.
          As you say, though, a number of them have had injuries or been slightly off the boil recently.

        • September 3rd 2017 @ 8:12am
          Steven Benjamin said | September 3rd 2017 @ 8:12am | ! Report

          ~ Rieko Ioane is a standout for POTY

          • Roar Guru

            September 3rd 2017 @ 2:16pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 3rd 2017 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

            Rieko Ioane is in the picture, but not a standout. He only played one Test against the Lions, and that is probably not good enough. But the season is not over yet, so he can still impress the judges.

    • Roar Guru

      August 31st 2017 @ 3:22am
      Kia Kaha said | August 31st 2017 @ 3:22am | ! Report

      Cheers for that Harry. I think Perth might be the friendliest place in all of Australia to play the Wallabies at the moment.

      The Boks will want to dominate at scrum time so running straight lines from an advancing or stable scrum will be a better option than a rolling maul at lineout time.

      But these Wallabies know how to score tries as well as leak them. Will the Boks emulate the Lions or will they defend like the other sides, as in choose not to?

      Going to be a crucial game as you point out. A must win for the Boks but the Wallabies will think they did enough things right to earn a win. As Nick said in his article yesterday, how does Cheika go about motivating his side?

      • Roar Guru

        August 31st 2017 @ 4:02am
        Harry Jones said | August 31st 2017 @ 4:02am | ! Report

        KK, howzit!

        There is a possibility that few have imagined: that NZ is not as good as OZ made them look.

        We shall see.

        • Roar Guru

          August 31st 2017 @ 4:14am
          Kia Kaha said | August 31st 2017 @ 4:14am | ! Report

          Actually, Oz made them look pretty awful during those two impressive halves. The error rate has been far too high.

          But all penalties in Dunedin saw scrums or kicks for touch. Not conventional. More tests are required to see just exactly where everyone is at.

          • Roar Guru

            August 31st 2017 @ 4:18am
            Harry Jones said | August 31st 2017 @ 4:18am | ! Report


            EE isn’t taking the 3 either, very often. Telling EJ to kick for the corner.

            Must be some analytics?

            Always thought you took the shot in test rugby, until you are chasing the game.

            • Roar Guru

              August 31st 2017 @ 12:22pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | August 31st 2017 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

              I think we will see very little of that kind of tactics when the Boks face the AB’s. They have way too much respect for each other lineouts and scrums.
              Overall I predict the Tests between the Boks and the AB’s will be low-scoring games this year.
              The big upside the AB’s has ahead of these Tests is that they have been tested against an equal forward pack when they faced the BIL’s.

              • Roar Guru

                August 31st 2017 @ 9:27pm
                RobC said | August 31st 2017 @ 9:27pm | ! Report

                AB SB will be like Lions Saders I reckon. Except the SA pack this time around is more powerful

              • Roar Guru

                August 31st 2017 @ 9:44pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | August 31st 2017 @ 9:44pm | ! Report

                Well RobC, that Crusaders/AB’s pack does not exactly lose in strength with Coles, Retallick, and Cane…

              • Roar Guru

                September 1st 2017 @ 11:00am
                RobC said | September 1st 2017 @ 11:00am | ! Report

                I don’t think the ABs pack could do to Boks, what the Saders did to the Lions, Neutral

              • September 2nd 2017 @ 10:00am
                taylorman said | September 2nd 2017 @ 10:00am | ! Report

                I think with the Boks what you see is what you get. They played and won with this style all year so theyd be mad to change it in any big way. Theyre not leaking too many tries so theyre looking good overall.

                The open game against the ABs will probably be punished but theyve gotta persevere with the plusses. They dont look like the juggernaut Boks we are used to so now its judgement day/ time…where are SA at? Only when they play NZ and Oz can we really tell.

                Really looking forward to these clashes. The red shirted, heavily mixed ethnic side I watched against Argie was like no Bok side Ive ever seen.

                Great to see. ?

        • August 31st 2017 @ 7:10am
          Bluesfan said | August 31st 2017 @ 7:10am | ! Report

          Might be that NZ are not that good – but remember that SA played a French side at the end of their season and hardly a vintage Puma side.

          Would any of the current SA side get into a run on AB Team – Marx vs Cole/EE vs Whitelock/Retalick/Mid-field?

          Personally I can’t see a current SA player who would walk into the side now (unlike the 2009 version) – so think Perth is going to be very interesting. Are the Wallabies the real deal and/or are SA recovering or just a false dawn.

          • Roar Guru

            August 31st 2017 @ 7:18am
            Harry Jones said | August 31st 2017 @ 7:18am | ! Report

            Only Shag would know, but I imagine he’d think pretty long before cutting Marx, Kitshoff, Etzebeth, Kriel, and Kolisi. He wouldn’t even look at our backs …. I agree.

            • August 31st 2017 @ 7:46am
              Bluesfan said | August 31st 2017 @ 7:46am | ! Report

              i’m sorry but can I have some of what you are smoking – you are saying that 5 players from an 8 man forward pack would be selected before the current AB’s? Couple of those players would be on the bench – but on the run on team – nah – 57-15 in SA last year must not have happened.

              This is the forward pack from that game last year:

              1. Tendai Mtawarira
              2. Adriaan Strauss
              3. Vincent Koch
              4. Eben Etzebeth
              5. Pieter-Steph du Toit
              6. Francois Louw
              7. Teboho Mohoje
              8. Warren Whiteley

              16. Mbongeni Mbonami
              17. Steven Kitshoff
              18. Julian Redelinghuys
              19. Lodewyk De Jager
              20. Willem Alberts
              21. Jaco Kriel

              Apart from Marx/Kolisi – I see a lot of the names you mention above and I don’t recall the AB forward pack being dominated last year by SA?

              • Roar Guru

                August 31st 2017 @ 8:00am
                Harry Jones said | August 31st 2017 @ 8:00am | ! Report

                Shag and Wayne could coach Etzebeth and Marx to the top! All I said was Shag would think long about cutting the players I mentioned from his 23…

              • August 31st 2017 @ 8:14am
                Fionn said | August 31st 2017 @ 8:14am | ! Report

                I’d pick Marx over Coles and Kolisi over Squire.

                I also don’t think that Cane is that good. Too one dimensional, I’d pick Ardie over him though.

              • August 31st 2017 @ 9:33am
                Dainis said | August 31st 2017 @ 9:33am | ! Report

                What about Kaino? He’s the first choice AB’s blindside flanker.

              • Roar Guru

                August 31st 2017 @ 10:03am
                Charging Rhino said | August 31st 2017 @ 10:03am | ! Report

                Blues fan… but only 2 of those 8 started against the Pumas last weekend. Beast & Etzebeth.

                And I’m pretty happy to see some of those other names gone to be honest!

                The Bok pack won’t dominate the AB pack, but the AB pack won’t dominate the Bok pack.

                It’s small margins between some of these players. I know which lock and hooker I’d pick first in any world 15 team, Etzebeth & Marx (with Bismarck on the bench and Coles in the 30).
                Front rows – even
                2nd row- even, maybe AB slight advantage due the the long running partnership & experience. Boks have more depth behind the starters though.
                Back row- advantage ABs especially with Reid. But Kriel & Kolisi are on fire too.

                Backline- advantage ABs by quite a long way. The Boks will have to study the Lions & Wallabies (2nd game) game plan to try and nuetralise all the threats.

                Anyway that’s opinion.

              • August 31st 2017 @ 10:36am
                Bluesfan said | August 31st 2017 @ 10:36am | ! Report

                I’m sorry but but with respect- but are you guys being serious?

                Let me remind you about the last two games results from 2016:

                57-15 & 41-13

                Those score lines indicate that the AB’s did have some dominance last year – the AB’s are not just exciting backs.

                I mean look at the 2009 version of the Springbok Pack – they would have walked into the AB’s team – Juan Smith, Botha, Mathfield – god just some amazing players.

                Sadly the current team (in my view) is mediocre vs past Springbok teams.

                Here is an example – Marx – great player but what actually has he done thus far? But are you saying you would pick him as a run on player over Coles? I mean think about some of the tries that Coles has scored vs SA – I remember one in SA, where he stepped the SA Backline.

                Now if you said you would pick Bismarck DP and then run on Coles – yip I would be OK with that, but I don’t get how you would pick someone with Potential over someone with a proven track load of success.

                Sometimes I think people forget just how strong the AB forward pack is, because the backline is so destructive, but that AB pack has seldom being dominated.

              • Roar Guru

                August 31st 2017 @ 10:46am
                Charging Rhino said | August 31st 2017 @ 10:46am | ! Report

                Mate you’re forgetting that’s last year. So many player changes.
                It’s a different team. Marx over Coles every time for me. Which is why Bissie isn’t in the team either. Although Marx needs to work on his line out throwing.

                Correct the AB pack won’t be dominated, of course not they are brilliant and incredibly strong. No one is denying that mate. But neither will this (2017) Bok pack be dominated.

                We’ll see though. I may be wrong, but something tells me I may be right.

              • August 31st 2017 @ 12:10pm
                Fionn said | August 31st 2017 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

                ‘What has Marx achieved/’

                I guess using that logic SBW must be better centre than BOD as SBW has achieved more? Marx has made two SR finals, but he happens to play in an inferior international team to the All Blacks.

                Coles has been injured most of the year and has been far from dominant when playing. Marx has been totally dominant.

                The fact the ABs beat the Boks easily last year just means they’re a better team, not that all the 15 players are better than the Bok equivalents.

                I’d pick Marx and Bismarck over Coles based on what I’ve seen of all 3 this year. Kolisi has definitely been superior to Squire this year in my opinion.

              • August 31st 2017 @ 5:02pm
                Bluesfan said | August 31st 2017 @ 5:02pm | ! Report

                ‘What has Marx achieved/’

                I guess using that logic SBW must be better centre than BOD as SBW has achieved more? Marx has made two SR finals, but he happens to play in an inferior international team to the All Blacks.

                Well Marx has lost 2 Super final games, his line out throwing is poor e.g. remember the Crusaders picking him off in the Super final vs. Coles – WC, Super final winner and scorer of how many test tries?

                In regards SBW or BOD – would take neither – give me Tana or Conrad Smith any day of the week.

              • September 1st 2017 @ 4:10pm
                timber said | September 1st 2017 @ 4:10pm | ! Report

                Fionn, Cane’s not one dimensional. Here are his stats compared to Hooper who obviously has a reputation as a fine attacking no.7 (Source: Naki from Planet rugby)
                Cane vs Hooper (both starting head-to-head, tests since 2013)

                Tries scored: 2 vs 0
                Passes: 27 vs 11
                Runs: 35 vs 30
                Metres per run: 2.5 vs 2.4
                Clean Breaks: 3 vs 0
                Defenders Beaten: 2 vs 4
                Offloads: 4 vs 1
                Turnovers conceded: 3 vs 5
                Tackles: 53 vs 40
                Tackle %: 93% vs 85%
                Penalties conceded: 4 vs 5

            • August 31st 2017 @ 2:36pm
              Dan from Fiji said | August 31st 2017 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

              Shag could not resist the temptation to have EE & BR on the run on side. That would be mouth watering stuff.

              Can they play side by side in the Barbarians team?

          • Roar Guru

            August 31st 2017 @ 12:27pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | August 31st 2017 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

            Might be that NZ are not that good – but remember that SA played a French side at the end of their season and hardly a vintage Puma side.

            The AB’s are in rebuilding face so that their performances are inconsistent at the moment can’t be a surprise really.

            France might not be vintage, but I am certain they are better than Scotland, Fiji, and Italy. And if you watched those Tests between France and the Boks, you would know that France played some decent rugby and were no push overs. Especially in the first two Tests, it took really good performances from the Boks to win.

            • August 31st 2017 @ 12:36pm
              Fionn said | August 31st 2017 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

              What on planet makes you think they’re better than Scotland? I know France won against Scotland but Scotland beat Ireland and Wales, France lost to Australia ‘B’ in Paris and Scotland beat Australia.

              I definitely think Scotland are better than France.

              • Roar Guru

                August 31st 2017 @ 1:33pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | August 31st 2017 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

                Come on Fionn, France did beat Scotland earlier this year, I think that is a pretty good marker which team is the best.
                France also beat Wales and they did not get blown off the park against England like Scotland did.

              • August 31st 2017 @ 1:55pm
                Fionn said | August 31st 2017 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

                Neutral, almost any tier 1 team can beat any other on their day.

                Australia SHOULD have beaten New Zealand in New Zealand last week (yes, Kiwis, I said ‘should have’, come at me) and incompetence at restarts and goal-kicking is what led us to losing. And New Zealand are a vastly superior team to Australia.

                You can’t start using that, because using that logic Scotland is better than Ireland and Wales and Ireland is better than England.

                France is behind all of the home nations to me (yes, even Wales). Losing to what was allegedly Australia B (although whether it was actually inferior to Cheika’s preferred team is actually up for debate) in Paris last year, plus Scotland beating Aus, Wales and Ireland in the last 6 months indicates to me that if France was to play Scotland in a neutral venue (like Sweden 😛 ) then Scotland would be the favourites.

              • Roar Guru

                August 31st 2017 @ 2:05pm
                biltongbek said | August 31st 2017 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

                Is this one of those A beat B, but B beat C thus B is better than A things?

              • August 31st 2017 @ 2:10pm
                Fionn said | August 31st 2017 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

                This is on of those things where I’m doing it completely by gut feel, and I’ve been more impressed by Scotland than France.

                Rather like tennis rankings, most of the guys ranked 5-8 are usually pretty interchangeable and can all beat each other on their day. There isn’t much to seperate them.

                New Zealand are a clear number one to me, England a clear number two, and then there is a whole host of teams fighting for number three: Ireland, South Africa, Scotland and Australia. You’ve gotta say Ireland and South Africa are front runners to be the 3rd best by the end of the year, but none of them teams have shown any degree of consistency aside from South Africa this year.

              • Roar Guru

                August 31st 2017 @ 2:27pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | August 31st 2017 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

                I hear what you are saying Fionn, but are we not splitting atoms now?

                Scotland and France are pretty equal, but while Scotland is very close to their maximum potential, France is way below their max.
                InNovember both Scotland and France will face the AB’s, if we are to see an upset, would you back France or Scotland to give the AB’s a bloody nose?

                That game between Australia and France last year is still on my mind, due to that game proved to me – again – that back row selection is all about balance and that Australian back row with McMahon, Pocock, and Fardy was a thing of beauty and won that game for OZ. France was probably better in all other departments on the field, but since the OZ back row totally dominated the back row battle OZ won that game.

              • August 31st 2017 @ 2:36pm
                Fionn said | August 31st 2017 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

                You said you were ‘certain’ they’re better than Scotland. I don’t see that at all, I personally see France as the tier below Scotland, but each to their own.

                Haha, I don’t see either beating New Zealand. But as a Wallabies fan I would much prefer to play against France.

                Between Nell, the Grays, Hogg and Finn Russell I feel like Scotland are actually more likely to improve further, but maybe that is my bias as a Wallaby fan and we always struggle against Scotland. France just look like a bit of a rabble to me personally.

              • August 31st 2017 @ 2:39pm
                Dan from Fiji said | August 31st 2017 @ 2:39pm | ! Report


                I am not sure about England being a clear no 2. What makes them a clear no 2?

              • Roar Guru

                August 31st 2017 @ 3:06pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | August 31st 2017 @ 3:06pm | ! Report

                I am not sure about England being a clear no 2. What makes them a clear no 2?

                How about losing only one Test since the WC 2015?
                Or that their Test squad is in large parts built on six straight finals in the U20 WC?
                The only team they have not beaten since EJ took over is NZ, and they are yet to play each other.
                Maybe the world ranking can gice you hint also Dan in Fiji?

              • September 1st 2017 @ 10:29pm
                Mik Ado said | September 1st 2017 @ 10:29pm | ! Report

                Scotland are around equal to France, but they were minus two star players vs Australia so to win that match in Australia was huge for them (and correspondingly bad for Aus).

              • Roar Guru

                September 1st 2017 @ 11:24pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 1st 2017 @ 11:24pm | ! Report

                We shall not take anything away from the brave Scots, they were actually missing three players to the Lions Tour ;).

          • Roar Guru

            August 31st 2017 @ 4:41pm
            biltongbek said | August 31st 2017 @ 4:41pm | ! Report

            Whilst I think it is arrogant to think the All Blacks are individually so good that not one Springbok will make their squad, I am in agreement with you that nothing has convinced me yet the Springboks can compete with New Zealand.

            I think many are hoping the “rivalry” with SA and NZ is alive and well, the fact is since 1996 it hasn’t.

            Even if we do manage the odd win our systems, selection policies, administration are not going to provide a sustained challenge.

            • August 31st 2017 @ 7:56pm
              Rugby Tragic said | August 31st 2017 @ 7:56pm | ! Report

              Biltongbek … I remember 2009 ….

              Bok Strategies were so superior … we couldn’t handle you guys … GH then formulated the bomb squad …

            • Roar Guru

              August 31st 2017 @ 8:53pm
              Harry Jones said | August 31st 2017 @ 8:53pm | ! Report

              If we swapped coaches and admins

              I think our players would mysteriously become world 23 quality


    • Roar Guru

      August 31st 2017 @ 3:28am
      Armand van Zyl said | August 31st 2017 @ 3:28am | ! Report

      I never was a popular kid in school, so I have all the experience to back me when I make a statement that probably wouldn’t be popular among my fellow countrymen.

      Wallabies will win by 5.

      Because they had two very good halves against the All Blacks? Not really. My line of thought is a lot more obvious and takes the form of a rugby cliché: They’re playing at home and history is on their side.

      In recent years the Wallabies and the Springboks have been relatively 50/50. The home team generally wins. The 2013 Springbok victory at Suncorp was the exception. Otherwise, it’s been straightforward.

      I can imagine that some Wallaby fans will point to their recent results and say that the Wallabies have a very minimal chance. I would counter this by saying that they lost against the weakest Springbok side in history in Pretoria last year. Form seemingly has little to do with the equation.

      The one thing that could get us over the line is oddly, in my opinion, our greatest weakness, which is our pack of forwards. Think about it for a second – which of our backs have looked like anything special? When you look at the Springbok team, the prominent names that make a difference are all forwards. Siya Kolisi, Eben Etzebeth, Jaco Kriel, Coenie Oosthuizen. These are the names that catch the eye. None of the backs do.

      If we look even deeper than that we’ll see that most of our good play comes from the forwards. Coenie has people worrying about the scrums. Kolisi is our top try-scorer and has suddenly become a chief playmaker with his assists. Eben Etzebeth has made the most offloads of anyone in our team and is leading the team with vigor. Malcolm Marx and Jaco Kriel are destroying attacks with their steals on the ground.

      In terms of our backline, Jantjies is probably the only one who’s had some notable moments. Serfontein and Kriel are getting by with opportunities created by others. Skosan and Rhule hardly pose any threat other than speed. Andries Coetzee is trying hard, but has done nothing to suggest that he’s the fullback we’ve been waiting for since Montgomery abandoned us 9 years ago. Our scrum-halves are serviceable without being dominant.

      Basically, all the Wallabies need to do is find a way to negate our pack, which for some reason they always do at least once a year. Their attack broke the All Black defence, so ours shouldn’t be too hard to cut asunder. If they work around the pack, I’d put them as favourites to win.

      Unless, of course, the Boks are genuinely better than we all think they are.

      • Roar Guru

        August 31st 2017 @ 4:04am
        Harry Jones said | August 31st 2017 @ 4:04am | ! Report


        The greatest virtue of the 2017 Bokling vintage is …. CONSISTENCY.

        Consistently creating line breaks and overlaps, consistently scoring 35-40 points, consistently leaking only 1-2 tries, consistent in selection, consistent body types (no rhinos; even Coenie is slimmed down), consistent effort, and 34 of 38 kicks made by EJ.

        • August 31st 2017 @ 8:16am
          Fionn said | August 31st 2017 @ 8:16am | ! Report

          You could be right, and maybe the Boks will win easily, but look who the Boks have played this year. It’s really hard to tell if they are the real deal or whether they’ve been made to look better than they are.

          I hope they’re the real deal, with the players they have available if coached well they should be able to enter a three horse race with England and Ireland to be the 2nd best team by the end of the year. Who knows how much they can improve above that.

        • Roar Guru

          August 31st 2017 @ 12:34pm
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | August 31st 2017 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

          Excellent point Harry.
          I think a large part of this consistency comes down to the player’s mental attitude. Everyone in the Boks setup seems to put a lot thought into how they actually can make their team mates better. Their body language speaks volumes.
          When someone does something good, every team mate applauds, when someone does something bad, everyone makes an effort to boost and establish that player again.

        • Roar Guru

          August 31st 2017 @ 9:46pm
          RobC said | August 31st 2017 @ 9:46pm | ! Report

          The interesting test for SB is tries conceded

          • Roar Guru

            August 31st 2017 @ 10:37pm
            Harry Jones said | August 31st 2017 @ 10:37pm | ! Report

            SBs have let in SOFT tries, but not allowed red zone bash tries. I think WBs are gonna need to find the 13/14 channel to break SA. The middle won’t be happy hunting ground w Stormer and Lion forward smash tackling from angles

            • Roar Guru

              September 1st 2017 @ 8:00pm
              RobC said | September 1st 2017 @ 8:00pm | ! Report

              It never has been Hazza. Probably never will either.

              • Roar Guru

                September 1st 2017 @ 9:39pm
                Harry Jones said | September 1st 2017 @ 9:39pm | ! Report

                If Kuridrani finds the seam, we in trouble.

      • Roar Guru

        August 31st 2017 @ 2:53pm
        Machooka said | August 31st 2017 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

        Hi ya AvZ… good to see you show up for the important ones 😉

        And all the best in this upcoming one… I hope your thoughts are right!

    • August 31st 2017 @ 4:04am
      Bob Wire said | August 31st 2017 @ 4:04am | ! Report

      I’m sure any team will base their game plan on their opponents recent matches. The Boks will be somewhat confused because the Wallabies last match was definitely massively different to their previous four games. Cheika’s selections are an unknown too, so lot’s of mind games in the build up to come. The scrum will be sorted, can’t be worse than the first half in Dunedin. I think the Wallabies will have their measure, let’s hope Australian rugby supporters do what supporters traditionally do – support their team. Go Wallabies!

      • Roar Guru

        August 31st 2017 @ 4:09am
        Harry Jones said | August 31st 2017 @ 4:09am | ! Report

        Good points about Cheika’s chaos theory.

        However, I think the WB scrum CAN in fact fare worse than it did in Dunedin. The Bok scrum has been an absolute nightmare for France and Argentina, no lightweights in that realm.

        The biggest problem for OZ, however, may be if they try to run it out of their own 22 or are short on exits. SA has been scoring from the counter/TO or LOs about 20-30 m out.

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