The Wrap: The Wallabies and the ARU ‘get out of Dodge’

Geoff Parkes Columnist

333 Have your say

    Popularised by the old radio and television western Gunsmoke, the phrase ‘get the hell out of Dodge’ was commonly used by feisty locals as they ran unwanted villains out of Dodge City, Kansas.

    While it would be unfair to describe the Wallabies as unwanted, there was still a groundswell of Perth rugby fans prepared to lump them in with the ARU as a target for their anger at the Western Force being ‘discontinued’ from Super Rugby and who either didn’t attend the Test match against South Africa or who did so under sufferance.

    What shaped as the ARU’s worst nightmare – a Perth Test match coming after months of bitter wrangling and recriminations and in the week of a court ruling supporting their decision to exclude the Force – in the end turned out to be more like a visit to the dentist, where the anticipation was the most uncomfortable part and the experience, while undeniably far from perfect, wasn’t actually as bad as it could have been.

    A crowd of 17,000 won’t do anything to right the ARU’s teetering balance sheet but, in the circumstances, it will feel like a win – as will the demeanour of those who attended wearing blue instead of gold, whose protest was made firmly but respectfully.

    In fact, if Saturday night represented a potential low point in the war between WA rugby and the ARU, then it would seem that the path to recovery has already been started down.

    Indications are that whatever competition Andrew Forrest is working to construct will be done with the blessing of the ARU, as indeed it must. Any ‘rebel’ competition where players would be ruled ineligible for Australian representation is doomed to failure.

    In that respect, anything that brings Forrest and the ARU to the same table improves the likelihood that a final solution can be engineered that will not only satisfy the commitment Forrest has made to WA rugby but will also be to the betterment of all Australian rugby.

    If that happens – and there are some important obstacles to overcome yet before it does, such as the state of the relationship between Forrest and ARU chairman Cameron Clyne – then who knows, this whole mess may even have been worth all of the pain.

    (Image: AAP Image/Justin Chadwick)

    Meanwhile, the fans who did attend were treated to a match that, while it lacked a deal of quality, was highly competitive throughout and provided an extremely tense final few minutes.

    On one hand, Australia failing to close the game out after gaining a ten-point lead will be viewed as another missed opportunity, but on the other, taking into account the set-piece dominance which the Springboks enjoyed, the Wallabies should be happy to escape – in other words, ‘get out of Dodge’ – with a draw.

    Coach Michael Cheika spoke post-match about his side not yet having the required ‘killer instinct’ to win a tight match from in front, but a more sober analysis will align him more closely with Michael Hooper’s view that more work on scrum and line-out, as well as mental strength, must be the priority.

    Oh, and throw in a rethink of the policy to leave the breakdown undermanned, which stymied any attempt to establish an attacking rhythm of quickly recycled ball and made for a very uncomfortable night for halfback Will Genia.

    As evidenced in recent matches against Italy and New Zealand, the Wallabies’ scrum was at best barely functional, conceding points at vital times and coming nowhere near to being a consistently strong enough platform from which to leverage attacking play.

    Similarly, there was no point in Hooper pointing to the corners to chase tries instead of penalty goals if the Wallabies’ lineout did not have sufficient reliable options to counter the Springbok jumping threat everyone knew was coming. That pressure got pushed back onto the thrower and, even in an era when referees tend to be lenient on what constitutes a straight throw, it was very disappointing to have both hookers blown for crooked feeds.

    At least new hooker Jordan Uelese showed enough in other aspects to warrant further opportunities, impressing with the physicality of his contact play with and without the ball in the manner that, say, Ned Hanigan continued to disappoint.

    On the balance of play this match was there for the Springboks – finishing far the stronger – to win, so for the Wallabies to defend the final few minutes without resorting to illegal play was a credit to the team and to Hooper’s leadership.

    On that count alone, they were worthy of a draw against a side that, beforehand, some were talking up as a renewed force in world rugby.

    In truth, the much-vaunted new-style Springbok attacking game never got off the ground, largely due to a first half where ill-discipline fed into too many penalties and an overly conservative game plan. On the plus side, a well thought-out backline defence provided the Wallabies backs with the perception of space, all the while herding runners towards the safety of the sideline.

    It wasn’t until the 50th minute, when Adam Coleman caught the Kolisi virus, that the Boks’ game lifted up a few cogs – a smashing hit by the big flanker sparking the visitors into action.

    Chances were created (Jan Serfontein was dangerous with the ball all night), but also squandered (Serfontein again), and while the final stanza favoured South Africa, they never quite did enough to justifiably claim victory.

    (Image: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

    It was business as usual in New Plymouth with another greasy New Zealand winter pitch and the All Blacks enduring a customary 60-minute arm-wrestle with Argentina before pulling clear to win 39-22.

    With the All Blacks scoring three tries to nil in the first 40 minutes, there was a sense of disbelief that the Pumas went into half-time ahead 16-15 after a 41st-minute lineout snafu gifted a try to Nicolas Sanchez.

    Proving that tries are not the only measure, the Pumas were rewarded for a superior kicking game by foot and off the tee and for good continuity with the ball.

    The All Blacks’ timing issues in attack continued, and while Sonny-Bill Williams tried hard to recover lost ground, he again failed to assert himself in midfield as well as he would have liked.

    It was another Beauden Barrett sin-bin and a seven-point deficit that proved to be the catalyst – not for the Pumas, who seemed to telegraph their tactics and bottle it when the game was theirs for the taking, but for the All Blacks, who noticeably went up a gear and completely dominated the match in the final half hour.

    The impetus came from two players: Vaea Fifita (benefitting from Dane Coles working hard to charge down a Tomas Cubelli kick), whose 40-metre run and finish was a truly special rugby moment.

    The other important player was replacement fly-half Lima Sopoaga, who immediately rectified the All Blacks’ goal-kicking woes and showed a poise and control in his game that no other Test fly-half over the weekend came near matching.

    Given his past success against South Africa, coach Steve Hansen must now be thinking long and hard about starting Sopoaga this week and shifting Barrett back to fullback.

    For the Pumajaguares, skipper Agustin Creevy enjoyed his customary strong match, sending Israel Dagg for an untimely early shower, while young centre Emiliano Boffeli unloaded with a couple of monster penalty goals that left the crowd gasping in admiration.

    What has become clear, however, is that, after what is now 25 Test matches between the countries, this Argentinian side does not have the mentality and self-belief to beat the All Blacks, such as what Ireland showed in Chicago last year, when they broke through for their maiden victory.

    Beauden Barrett All Blacks New Zealand Rugby Union Test Championship 2016

    (AAP Image/SNPA, Ross Setford)

    Earlier in the afternoon, it was another number ten who provided all the excitement in Melbourne – the ridiculously talented Paceli Nacebe sparking the Fijian Drua’s historic first win in the NRC, 45-24 over the Melbourne Rising.

    Nacebe, who scored two tries from fullback in Round 1 against Brisbane City, relished the move to playmaker and – even on his own – is enough to justify the inclusion of the Fijians in this year’s competition.

    It wasn’t all thrills and spills, however. For a side that has been together only a short time, the Drua impressed at set pieces and with their patience on the ball, not afraid to play up the middle through their big forwards.

    Rising were dominated physically, although with a number of young local players taking the field, look for them to improve as the competition proceeds and as they acclimatise to rugby played at a higher level – which, after all, is a large part of what the NRC is all about.

    Although there is the matter of a Senate inquiry to work through – which will almost certainly achieve nothing other than meet the political objectives of well-meaning but ultimately self-serving WA politicians – it is to be hoped that the ARU now gains enough clear air to work on connecting local fans with the NRC.

    The standard of the rugby and the enthusiasm of the players and coaches deserves far more focus, although it is fair to say that on the evidence of the opening three seasons, even without the challenges faced now in Western Australia, there is little to suggest that the ARU has either the know-how, financial resources, marketing savvy or the political capital to properly connect this worthy competition to rugby people.

    In that sense, there isn’t much point in escaping from Dodge with a good horse and a shirt on your back if you don’t find a way to take advantage of your good fortune.

    Geoff Parkes
    Geoff Parkes

    Geoff is a Melbourne-based sports fanatic and writer who started contributing to The Roar in 2012 under the pen name Allanthus. His first book, A World in Union Conflict; The Global Battle For Rugby Supremacy, was released in December 2017 to critical acclaim. For details on the book visit Meanwhile, his twin goals of achieving a single figure golf handicap and owning a fast racehorse remain tantalisingly out of reach.

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    The Crowd Says (333)

    • September 11th 2017 @ 7:14am
      moaman said | September 11th 2017 @ 7:14am | ! Report

      Bit of a ho-hum feel to the rugby this weekend Geoff.
      The game at New Plymouth was pretty much what was to be expected under the circumstances.The emergence of ‘Figh-fita’, as Marshall called him, a good enough reason to watch the game-once-and then to erase it from the memory banks.
      The draw at Perth seemed to provide a better visual spectacle but the fare was just as bland.

      • Columnist

        September 11th 2017 @ 8:17am
        Geoff Parkes said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:17am | ! Report

        After the dramatic finish in Dunedin, perhaps Moa.
        But even if they won’t be getting repeated viewings this week, I still enjoyed both matches, they were certainly very competitive.

        • September 11th 2017 @ 9:02am
          Daveski said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:02am | ! Report

          Actually thought the AB-Arg game was a real good one. Polar opposite of the Perth match in that it was exciting and close for 60 odd minutes then petered out a little.

          NZ commentators were spot on, Argentina needed to go for the try when Barrett got yellow carded, it spoke volumes for their mindset that they didn’t.

          Creevy is a beast, the Pumas 8 was excellent and Boffelli I think might kick the ball even farther than Hodge and with more accuracy.

        • Roar Guru

          September 11th 2017 @ 10:18am
          Ralph said | September 11th 2017 @ 10:18am | ! Report

          The day I lose the enjoyment of watching a number six hose the opposition number ten on the outside is the day I have grown weary of life.

          • Columnist

            September 11th 2017 @ 10:22am
            Geoff Parkes said | September 11th 2017 @ 10:22am | ! Report


            Well said Ralph, wasn’t that something special?

            • Roar Guru

              September 11th 2017 @ 11:31am
              Ralph said | September 11th 2017 @ 11:31am | ! Report

              We begin to see why Mr Hanson said Mr Fifita is athletically gifted.

              Eye popping stuff.

              • September 11th 2017 @ 12:30pm
                Rebellion said | September 11th 2017 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

                If a World XV was chosen tomorrow – how many positions wouldn’t be filled by All Blacks?
                He’s not playing at the moment but I’d say Pocock at 7, not sure on tighthead props, maybe make room for Itoje and the centres (Davies a lock for 13 – not sure about 12).
                That’s 9 or 10 All Blacks which is pretty incredible

              • September 11th 2017 @ 4:27pm
                Fionn said | September 11th 2017 @ 4:27pm | ! Report

                I think the non-Kiwis would be as follows…

                2. Marx
                6. S. Kolisi
                7. O’Brien or Pocock
                8. Vunipola
                13. I’m not sure about Davies, he was incredible in the Lions series but I’ve never seen him play so well before, but I guess on current form it has to be him
                11. Liam Williams
                14. Israel Folau on current form

                I’d say Ryan Crotty would have to be a lock for 12.

              • September 11th 2017 @ 3:37pm
                cuw said | September 11th 2017 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

                Matera at 7 . he and Kriel are outstanding test players.

                but if we were looking at clubs then look no further than FLOW playing better than ever for BATH.

              • September 12th 2017 @ 12:21am
                Taylorman said | September 12th 2017 @ 12:21am | ! Report

                How on earth does Pocock get picked for Seven when one, hes not even playing and two, he hasnt played seven for years. Bizarre. Folau instead of Smith? Nope. Agree with Marx and Kolisi. Coles has hardly played…though that doesnt seem to be a factor for Pocock ?

                Itoje would be the first non AB on the list Id say. Not for my own selection but Im guessing hes currently a favourite for POTY.

              • Roar Guru

                September 12th 2017 @ 12:53am
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 12th 2017 @ 12:53am | ! Report

                I think you are – secretly – slowly starting to warm towards Itoje T-man 😉

                On a serious note, I am actually curious what your current Wolrd XV would look like (with current/2017 form and potential as the main selection criteria).

              • September 12th 2017 @ 1:13am
                Taylorman said | September 12th 2017 @ 1:13am | ! Report

                With Itoje I know how they score the POTY and given he was one of few to stand out in both the 6N AND the Lions tests two and three he’ll have gained more of the 3,2,1 points each of the judges hand out per test.

                No ABs played well over so many tests due to form, of injury or selection and Hansens used many players in many positions. Barrett had the best chance with regular play but didnt secure Lions tests bests.

                Kolisis the other, has had very good tests so far. Kriel as well. Props never seem to win it probably because the judges -half being backs wouldnt have a clue, so dont award the points?

              • Roar Guru

                September 12th 2017 @ 1:40am
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 12th 2017 @ 1:40am | ! Report

                I do believe that Itoje will be among the nominees, but I don’t think he will win it this year. His 6N was not that great (he did play out of position, but I doubt the jury will consider that).

                Jonathan Davies had a pretty poor 6N also, he did not find his groove until the last few rounds of the Pro14. But his performances in all three Lions Tests were very good, and that will count for a lot.

                I still think Ryan Crotty is in with a real chance to win also. His consistently high-level play this year has been pretty special.

                I do remember what you said the other week that midfielders get overlooked for the POTY trophy, so that might work against both Crotty and Davies. I am not going to make a big fuzz about Carter getting the price 2015, but I thought Ma’a Nonu was the deserved winner (and that proves your point about midfielders being overlooked in my book).

                We have talked about Kolisi before, and we are in agreement about him. He has really raised his game this year, and I think he is in pool position right now to win it, but it is do or die now for him, he needs to perform against the AB’s and the Boks need at least one win over your boys. Not impossible, but it is a big ask.
                If I am being a tad bit cynical, it easy to see why giving the prize to a black forward in a resurrected Springboks team tick many boxes on the jury’s scorecard also.

                And we will what other AB’s that might come in contention. They are still gonna play 5-6 Tests before the jury nominates players for the shortlist. Brodie can’t be out of the picture, Rieko’s year has been very good and I think he can “explode” with a couple of MOTM-performances and hattricks.

            • September 11th 2017 @ 4:50pm
              Taylorman said | September 11th 2017 @ 4:50pm | ! Report

              Yes you dont often get Hansen talking up someone that much but to see it confirmed is really great. Must have been a fair bit of pressure after those words…good to see.

              • Roar Guru

                September 12th 2017 @ 12:58am
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 12th 2017 @ 12:58am | ! Report

                Yeah. At first, I could hardly believe what I was reading in NZH when Hansen talked up Fifita to the moon. But he sure got it dead right.
                He almost got it too right, because after the game he spent more energy at toning the praise down than building it up more.

          • Roar Guru

            September 11th 2017 @ 1:48pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 11th 2017 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

            I agree with that Ralph.
            And not only Pumas ten could keep up when Fifita started his run, Lima S was running outside at first to be ready for the offload, but after a couple of meters, it looks like Lima realizes not even he will keep up with Fifita’s pace.

            • September 11th 2017 @ 3:38pm
              cuw said | September 11th 2017 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

              he runs like King Carl – with the high knee lift. even dont see many athletes running with the high knee action these days….

              • Roar Guru

                September 11th 2017 @ 4:15pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 11th 2017 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

                Good call CUW.

                I feel bad for this, but every time I hear King Carl’s name these days I think about his “singing career”.
                In very tough competition, his single “Break it Up” are one of the worst songs ever recorded and released.

    • September 11th 2017 @ 7:25am
      concerned supporter said | September 11th 2017 @ 7:25am | ! Report

      Again a very good & insightful article.You say
      ” there is little to suggest that the ARU has either the know-how, financial resources, marketing savvy or the political capital to properly connect this worthy competition to rugby people.”
      Perfect summing up of our governing body.
      NRC, Perth, Melbourne and perhaps Canberra seem OK.
      But NSW & Queensland?
      Rays v Rams yesterday.I thought that Rays were a North Harbour team, yet the Rams had players from Manly, Warringah & Easts playing.
      NSW Country? who can work them out?
      Nice way to alienate supporters from Sydney Clubs.
      Little wonder the crowds & support has been poor.

      • Columnist

        September 11th 2017 @ 8:20am
        Geoff Parkes said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:20am | ! Report

        Yes, no question cs, the situation in Sydney in particular must be sorted out for next season otherwise the competition is never going to progress.

        Fans must be able to identify with teams in a way that is logical and easy. The current situation is far from this.

        • Roar Guru

          September 11th 2017 @ 9:37am
          Train Without A Station said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:37am | ! Report

          No it’s just Sydney that has the issue.

          Funny that…

          • Roar Rookie

            September 11th 2017 @ 11:25am
            piru said | September 11th 2017 @ 11:25am | ! Report

            Another ‘issue we can see from the office window so it must be true everywhere’.

            Anyone else think letting NSW deal with it’s own problems would free up a lot of time to deal with more widespread problems?

            • Roar Guru

              September 11th 2017 @ 11:29am
              Train Without A Station said | September 11th 2017 @ 11:29am | ! Report

              I agree with your point mate.

              In practice all the whining and disruption comes from Sydney though, so is hard to ignore.

              • September 11th 2017 @ 1:34pm
                Concerned Supporter said | September 11th 2017 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

                Yourself, Roger Davis are in the Grand Final .

          • September 12th 2017 @ 9:53pm
            Jock Cornet said | September 12th 2017 @ 9:53pm | ! Report

            Qld need to start producing players . It should not just be up to the Shute shield. The qld just sent the reds in. So nothing to organised but not much help in developing new talent which the NRC is for. Qld and rebels should start producing talent before you curse nsw

      • September 12th 2017 @ 9:50am
        Bakkies said | September 12th 2017 @ 9:50am | ! Report

        You also have Brumbies players switching between the Eagles and the Vikings.

    • September 11th 2017 @ 7:59am
      mzilikazi said | September 11th 2017 @ 7:59am | ! Report

      A good wrap, Geoff. Plenty of comments for further discussion.

      “more work on scrum and line-out, as well as mental strength, must be the priority. ” Yes, should be a major focus this week on the training paddock.

      I thought at times WB’s did well in the scrums, and disrupted the Bok’s, but Jackson is not a strong scrum ref, and made several wrong calls eg the scrum at 57.30 mins, when the WB’s had the Boks under pressure, and their tighthead’s knee touched the ground first, and then he recovered a bit, but had been turned in, and then collapsed totally.

      But over the course of the game the Boks had the more dominant, and at times destructive scrum.

      And “, even in an era when referees tend to be lenient on what constitutes a straight throw, it was very disappointing to have both hookers blown for crooked feeds.” Those, IMO, were just”nit picking ” decisions by a nervous referee who to some extent lacks self confidence. He let similar, and worse, go.

      Actually thought Jackson overall had a poor game…that forward pass by Foley too…how could the touch judge not have picked that one up ?

      • September 11th 2017 @ 8:13am
        Fionn said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:13am | ! Report

        I’ve never particularly enjoyed Jackson’s refereeing, mzilikazi. It’s a sad indictment on our sport that there are so few world class referees – Joubert, Owens and Barnes are the only three that are constantly good. I like Jaco Peyper also, but often he needs to give out harsher sanctions than he does in my opinion.

        We’ve now seen Foley try and throw two long passes during the RC and they’ve been the two worst long passes I have ever seen, both have gone forward, and neither have been called forward?

        I agree that our scrum wasn’t that poor until the replacements come on (enough said about Robertson). Even though I still feel he was rushed in I am pretty excited about Jordan Uelese for the coming years.

        • September 11th 2017 @ 8:52am
          robbo999 said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:52am | ! Report

          Re world refs I think Angus Gardiner is getting up there with the best. The Kiwi commentary team were waxing lyrical about him on Saturday – Justin Marshall went so far as to say he could be considered the best ref in the world at the moment! His co-commentators did not exactly endorse that but were very complimentary nonetheless. He had a good game anyway

          • September 11th 2017 @ 9:58am
            Bakkies said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

            ‘Re world refs I think Angus Gardiner is getting up there with the best. The Kiwi commentary team were waxing lyrical about him on Saturday’

            Of course they would say that while he was pinging Argentina off the park.

            How many cynical yellow cards does Barrett have to collect before he gets a hearing? He must have collected about 6 including 2 in the same match this year.

            • September 11th 2017 @ 11:59am
              ClarkeG said | September 11th 2017 @ 11:59am | ! Report

              He did appear before the Judiciary in April.

              • September 12th 2017 @ 9:53am
                Bakkies said | September 12th 2017 @ 9:53am | ! Report

                ‘He did appear before the Judiciary in April.’

                Clarke he has had at least three yellows since that hearing and hasn’t obviously learnt.

              • September 12th 2017 @ 7:21pm
                ClarkeG said | September 12th 2017 @ 7:21pm | ! Report

                Yes I’m aware he has had subsequent YCs.

                I’m not about to engage in discussion as to has he learnt or not but you have answered your own question in part.

                How many YCs does a player have to receive before he will automatically appear before the Judiciary?

                – 2 in the same match (Red Card)
                – 3 in Super Rugby.

                Do YCs in Super Rugby carry over into TRC? Apparently not. If so, Barrett would have been summoned to the Judiciary following last weekends YC.

            • September 11th 2017 @ 3:48pm
              cuw said | September 11th 2017 @ 3:48pm | ! Report

              it was kind of late . me and my mates thought the yellow shud have come in the foul before Barret’s.

            • Roar Rookie

              September 11th 2017 @ 7:34pm
              Paulo said | September 11th 2017 @ 7:34pm | ! Report

              When its a yellow for an accumulation of penalties hard to say its all on him.

              And as for pinging Arg off the park. Do you think he was being unfair and pinging them incorrectly?

              • September 11th 2017 @ 8:38pm
                cuw said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:38pm | ! Report

                if i heard ref correct, he said cynical. i think accumulation would have been before Barrett.

                it was difficult to follow , coz there were few “new advantage” in that stanza.

        • September 11th 2017 @ 8:52am
          robbo999 said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:52am | ! Report

          Re world refs I think Angus Gardiner is getting up there with the best. The Kiwi commentary team were waxing lyrical about him on Saturday – Justin Marshall went so far as to say he could be considered the best ref in the world at the moment! His co-commentators did not exactly endorse that but were very complimentary nonetheless. He had a good game anyway

        • September 11th 2017 @ 9:08am
          Daveski said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:08am | ! Report

          Foley wasn’t Robinson Crusoe though. The general standard of long passing in the Wallabies backline was ordinary on Saturday. So many passes behind the man slowing momentum. Foley I guess decided he’d try and even the ledger in one single attempt.

          • September 11th 2017 @ 9:20am
            Fionn said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:20am | ! Report

            I get your point, but who cares about the general standard, honestly? He is the flyhalf and he should have a very good long passing game. It is literally a integral component of his role.

            • September 11th 2017 @ 10:00am
              Bakkies said | September 11th 2017 @ 10:00am | ! Report

              You should care about the general standard as it has killed many attacking opportunities. They are also passing to the man not out in front.

              • September 11th 2017 @ 11:19am
                Fionn said | September 11th 2017 @ 11:19am | ! Report

                Bakkies, not relevant to what I meant. Of course I care what the general standard is, but it isn’t an easy fix and there is little we can do to fix the skills at this level.

                The general standard has nothing to do with the fact that we are playing a 10 who can’t pass. This in itself is a huge issue, and is actually an even bigger issue if the passing standard of the rest of the team is so low.

                How are we supposed to have a functioning backline when the team’s passing skills are sub par and the 10 can’t run a backline or pass long either?

              • September 11th 2017 @ 11:29am
                Fionn said | September 11th 2017 @ 11:29am | ! Report

                Passing to the man is the worst.

                Actually, often they aren’t in passing to the man but passing behind the man.

              • September 11th 2017 @ 7:01pm
                mzilikazi said | September 11th 2017 @ 7:01pm | ! Report

                “They are also passing to the man not out in front.” Golden rule, IMO, Bakkies…..never ever pass the ball to anyone….always pass in front of him.

                Actually I see a big problem in that so many support players are already level with the ball carrier as he looks to pass…they must lie back a couple of metres and burst onto the pass which is out front.

        • September 11th 2017 @ 3:57pm
          cuw said | September 11th 2017 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

          i would say there is no ref on this planet who gets the scrum decisions right every time.

          last night i saw Wasps get penalized despite their obvios scrum dominance. and in once case with just 2m to the try line with the Dragons scrum going back !!!

          Owens Peyper JP Doyle Jackson Gardener Poite Raynal Graces – are all good refs but the issue is u have to see who is in form. just like players they have good and bad form.

          JP Doyle for eg was very good in the Tigers match. the red in Tasman match was also good.

          • Roar Guru

            September 11th 2017 @ 4:01pm
            Train Without A Station said | September 11th 2017 @ 4:01pm | ! Report

            Dominance doesn’t equal infringements by the opposition though…

        • September 11th 2017 @ 6:56pm
          mzilikazi said | September 11th 2017 @ 6:56pm | ! Report

          Fionn, agree re the refs you mention…Barnes is the interesting one to me…terrible start to his career when the French beat the AB’s in the WC in 2007 ?? But he has gone from strength to strength as the years have passed….really rate him on the refereeing of the scrum.

          Jordan Uelese…….indeed, a great start, and against the Boks too.

          • September 11th 2017 @ 7:36pm
            cuw said | September 11th 2017 @ 7:36pm | ! Report

            LOL Barnes goes bananas still.

            did u see Bath v Saracens this weekend? a bath guy was off on a card (Faletau). Sarries got a penalty up front like 5m.

            Sarries opted for the scrum. they were packing down when Barnes got a call from the touch and on came Faletau after being out for 10 min .

            then Sarries decided they will go for 3 points, which Barnes allowed and explained to Bath ” they did not have all the information at the time decision was made. they did not the yellow card time was up. so ofcourse they are allowed to change their original decision”.

            seriously??? is that written in the LAWS?? i would think that came from a management information reporting training program 😛

      • Columnist

        September 11th 2017 @ 8:34am
        Geoff Parkes said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:34am | ! Report

        Hi mz, maybe have another look at that lineout throw from TPN. That wasn’t a nit picking ref, that was an awful throw. No way any ref can let those ones go.

        • Columnist

          September 11th 2017 @ 8:49am
          Geoff Parkes said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:49am | ! Report

          That missed forward pass was a shocker though. Even Wayne Barnes would have had that one covered 🙂

          • September 11th 2017 @ 2:27pm
            Dubaikiwi said | September 11th 2017 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

            Wayne i don’t see forward pass Barnes would not have pulled that back either!

          • September 11th 2017 @ 6:55pm
            cuw said | September 11th 2017 @ 6:55pm | ! Report

            i think he said it was a floater – meaning it came backwards off hands.

            i suppose u need hurricane Irma like winds for a ball to go so much forwards , if it came backwards off the hands 😛

        • September 11th 2017 @ 12:48pm
          jim boyce said | September 11th 2017 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

          Geoff – Any throw that goes to the outside shoulder of the jumper is crooked. TPN did 2 before he was called on the 3rd. This has been going on for a decade. Firstly, he is not confident in his throw and seems to try and compensate. The opposing team are right onto it. A long throw to 7 is out of the question by TPN . The opposing team can really concentrate their effort. I assume there are verbal signals and these can be easily worked out when you have limited targets.

          • September 11th 2017 @ 7:03pm
            cuw said | September 11th 2017 @ 7:03pm | ! Report

            think the problem is heightened by the lack of targets. teams with 4 or 5 targets can get away with anything. 🙂

        • September 11th 2017 @ 7:17pm
          mzilikazi said | September 11th 2017 @ 7:17pm | ! Report

          Geoff, accept the throw was offline, but looking at it again, I thought it was not unlike others that were allowed.

          Do agree that throws should be “down the middle”, and would not like to see the lineout being given the latitude the scrum put in now has. IMO a lowering of stanards in the game.

          • Columnist

            September 11th 2017 @ 8:43pm
            Geoff Parkes said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:43pm | ! Report

            Agree with that mz, very important to maintain a genuine contest.

      • September 11th 2017 @ 12:52pm
        Barry Crocker said | September 11th 2017 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

        Agree, Jackson (et al!) just doesn’t understand what is taking place at set piece nor the consequences of allowing arriving attacking players to leave their feet & ‘seal off’ at the breakdown.
        e.g. The final SA scrum Penalty was a clear case of ‘wheeling’ from SA, with their back 5 all stepping left & depowering the tight head side to accentuate the spin. There is no evidence that they drove through the Aus scrum then turned it.
        – Whilst he spotted one case of ‘numbers’ in the lineout, he missed at least 2 others where a def Aus had 7 V SA 6. Also missed the ‘knock-on where Coleman received the L/O with SA lock tapping it fwd before Hopper was pinged for the subsequent knock on…
        – Clear obstruction from SA lifters who move in front of the receiving jumper as they bring him to ground. This is a core part of the ‘Game Management’ guidelines for Refs yet never called?? ‘Changing lanes’ from the maul is also illegal play, yet is not called at SR or Test level. Therefore, maul from lineout has become a blight on the game IMO as it is too lopsided towards the attacking team with all Ref discretion leaning that way (& I’m a fwds Coach!).
        – At least 50% of arriving players (both sides) to the tackle zone had shoulders below hips & went straight to ground to seal off, even when no-one there to clean out. On the odd occasion a defender would be ‘on-ball’, they would be cleaned out from the side with impunity (bar 1 Pen against Coleman late). I recall one SA ‘poach’ & none for Aus as a result, hence both teams resort to a RL style defence until a kick/mistake…boring…
        – At least twice the SA lock picked & went ‘through the ruck’ which is also ‘illegal play’. The SA pillars were bound hence part of the ruck so he is obliged to go around them under IRU Law interpretations. If you contend they weren’t bound, then they were ‘offside’ as were in front of ‘last feet’ & again should have fallen foul of the clear ‘Game Management guidelines which are seemingly roundly ignored by all…

        Some of the NZ Mitre 10 Refs are starting to police these areas as are the AVIVA/French Top 14 ones, which is why these games are so much better to watch.
        Lots more small things that just aren’t being Refereed & ultimately have a cumulative impact across what was a pretty ordinary game to be at for $162 in the very back row of the stand!

        • September 11th 2017 @ 7:25pm
          mzilikazi said | September 11th 2017 @ 7:25pm | ! Report

          Great post BC…you cover so many things that are a concern. And so many of these things are so clear to see, right in front of the ref and touch judges.

          And when I was a coach I was also a forwards coach.

      • September 11th 2017 @ 3:46pm
        cuw said | September 11th 2017 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

        LOL ” And “, even in an era when referees tend to be lenient on what constitutes a straight throw, it was very disappointing to have both hookers blown for crooked feeds.” Those, IMO, were just”nit picking ” decisions by a nervous referee who to some extent lacks self confidence. He let similar, and worse, go.”

        so what u want the ref to do ? turn a blind eye? and how do u know it was the ref ? maybe the touchie called it in , which some of us cannot hear over the TV.

        the crooked throws were blatant becoz it was to the outside arm. if he did not call them many would be calling the ref a cheat.

        i think almost all refs let go a fair amount of throw ins as long as they are somewhere in the channell. if u watch close , England (and Japan before) under Borthwick coaching almost always throw crooked to the front. i have never seen it called out.

        • September 11th 2017 @ 7:31pm
          mzilikazi said | September 11th 2017 @ 7:31pm | ! Report

          “so what u want the ref to do ? turn a blind eye? and how do u know it was the ref ? maybe the touchie called it in , which some of us cannot hear over the TV.”

          No, cuw , all I would like to see is a consistent approach. Call all or none, unless badly offline.

          • September 11th 2017 @ 7:52pm
            Barry Crocker said | September 11th 2017 @ 7:52pm | ! Report

            For mine the bigger issue is why the Aus lineout was so poor defensively when it was clear to see where & who they would be throwing to. The structure is all wrong with our main pod committing to any initial ‘fake’ towards the back, b4 the SA lock would take 2 steps in front of our pod & win it in the middle. No excuses when they come up with 6/7…their 5 man L/O is much harder to defend of course as some quick decisions to be made by the middle lifter/jumper. If in doubt, get the front man up really high & force them to throw over his head, no point EVER competing behind them as Hanigan found out…
            They even did the old schoolboys trick of throwing to the front man and back to the Hooker on one occasion. The front def lifter is supposed to stay a bit side on & use peripheral vision & a raised arm to stop this option…
            Like I said, this is all basic schoolboys stuff which I can’t believe Wobblies have never sorted…

          • September 11th 2017 @ 8:43pm
            cuw said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:43pm | ! Report

            as i said it was badly offline – it was to the outside arm . even a small boy will call that one.

            refs in general for the sake of speeding up the game let go many throws as long as it is to the inside arm. if they start calling all the throws , we will still be at the lineout 😛

            as i said on another post i thin 99% of throws are crooked , scrum feeds are not straight , defensive lines are offside, etc etc.

            for the sake of the game a lot is let go – keeping in mind that the human reffing is not Steve Austin !!!

      • September 12th 2017 @ 5:48pm
        Loftus said | September 12th 2017 @ 5:48pm | ! Report

        Some of the Aussie hooker’s throw ins in the lineout was too skew to let go. And Jackson did let a couple go

    • September 11th 2017 @ 8:01am
      KiwiHaydn said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:01am | ! Report

      A real test for the ABs. They played a lot of their second stringers, were tested but were able to step up a gear when needed. They have now introduced an impressive line up of new players since the 2015 RWC Final, which is again building squad depth – what the Wallabies would give for any one of Cane, Savea, Read, Todd, Fifita, Squire, Kaino or Dixon in their loose forwards!

      One player that does seem to have run his race however is SBW, he seems to add very little, be off the pace and low on confidence, and surely the ABs must start looking at other options for the midfield, with ALB and Crotty my picks.

      • Columnist

        September 11th 2017 @ 8:39am
        Geoff Parkes said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:39am | ! Report

        Don’t be too quick to write off SBW KH.
        He’s clearly not having his best period, but he’s too good, too professional to be cast onto the scrapheap just yet.

        • September 11th 2017 @ 8:42am
          KiwiHaydn said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:42am | ! Report

          I’m trying to be patient Geoff, happy for him to be an impact player off the bench, but he just doesn’t seem to be having much of an impact so far. He’s had about 1.5 good games for the ABs so far this season, total.

          • Columnist

            September 11th 2017 @ 8:52am
            Geoff Parkes said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:52am | ! Report

            Fair enough KH.
            Many people are also saying that the AB’s have only had 1.5 good games this year too – first test against the Lions and first half against the Wallabies in Sydney. (I don’t actually agree with that, Samoa are not a poor side and the AB’s were magical that night)

        • September 12th 2017 @ 12:33am
          Taylorman said | September 12th 2017 @ 12:33am | ! Report

          Gosh you have a lot of patience Geoff. At his age and experience level he shouldnt need this long to nail his starting spot. For me that suggests hes not up to it.

          We’ve had twenty year olds given a sliver of a chance at test level this year and theyve each taken it with all theyve got performed far better than SBW who just keeps getting chance after chance thrown his way, for low returns, even negative in a couple of cases.

          Hes reminding of Ali Williams who kept getting selected on past ability and in the end had to drop himself. Ate we waiting for SBW to do that?

      • September 11th 2017 @ 8:56am
        Charlie Turner said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:56am | ! Report

        What about the “little engine that could” Hoops? You know the guy that looks like a rugby player only smaller! I agree though Hayden, NZ’s embarrassment of riches. Then you’ve got guys like Richard Buckman, probably not even on the AB radar who embodies the “have a go” attitude missing in Australian rugby.

        SBW needs to be sent back to the NPC.

        • September 11th 2017 @ 9:58am
          KiwiHaydn said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

          Buckman was part of the training squad before the Rugby Championship started.

      • September 11th 2017 @ 9:06am
        bill said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:06am | ! Report

        Read at 8 but none of the others would be picked in front of Hooper and Hannigan.

        • September 11th 2017 @ 9:19am
          KiwiHaydn said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:19am | ! Report

          Good one Bill, best joke I’ve heard all year. Hannigan is totally ineffective and out of his depth at international level. Hooper over Cane or Savea? You’re welcome to him!

        • Roar Guru

          September 11th 2017 @ 10:23am
          Ralph said | September 11th 2017 @ 10:23am | ! Report

          You wouldn’t like a number six at 116kg’s with the speed of a winger?

          Fair enough.

    • September 11th 2017 @ 8:55am
      Riccardo said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:55am | ! Report

      “Given his past success against South Africa, coach Steve Hansen must now be thinking long and hard about starting Sopoaga this week and shifting Barrett back to fullback.”

      Couldn’t agree more Allanthus. Morning mate.

      Sopoaga has come on twice to straighten the cutter now and probably merits a run-on anyway apart from the fact that he needs to be exposed more anyway as we prepare for Tokyo.

      Not sure how you feel but I want to see Crotty and ALB run out too. Williams is out of sorts and may be more beneficial from the pine when he has a little more time and room. Crotty is under-rated by many and the fact he has never lost a Test match has to bode well.

      I get the feeling the All Blacks are looking to execute plays a little too quickly and would do well to be more patient and allow space to open up, a bit like the core role Hansen referred to for Fifita. What chance he AND Savea ride the pine for South Africa? He’s a good line-out option too and he was dramatic with ball and hand.

      Given our forwards have largely kept us in it till now you have to wonder how much Franks and Moody (so close to “Woody” isn’t it?) being absent will affect us and expose our depth at this level.

      • Columnist

        September 11th 2017 @ 9:45am
        Geoff Parkes said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:45am | ! Report

        Morning Riccardo. I think Crotty is first choice now, in either position. If he isn’t hurt he plays.
        I agree that SBW is struggling, but we do know how highly Hansen rates him – wouldn’t surprise me either way, if he or ALB starts this week.

        Absolutely, prop is a concern. Take Faumuina, Franks and now Moody out in one fell swoop and that’s a massive hole to fill. We already saw how Tu’ungafasi struggled defensively in Dunedin. The Boks will be onto this for sure.

      • September 11th 2017 @ 9:51am
        KiwiHaydn said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:51am | ! Report

        Agree Riccardo, I’d like to see the following backline this weekend:



        • Columnist

          September 11th 2017 @ 10:23am
          Geoff Parkes said | September 11th 2017 @ 10:23am | ! Report

          I think you’re pretty close to the mark there KH.

        • September 11th 2017 @ 11:30am
          Riccardo said | September 11th 2017 @ 11:30am | ! Report


        • September 11th 2017 @ 11:41am
          KiwiHaydn said | September 11th 2017 @ 11:41am | ! Report

          Unfortunately Hansen has already said BB won’t be moving to fullback.

          • September 11th 2017 @ 5:09pm
            cuw said | September 11th 2017 @ 5:09pm | ! Report

            its interesting how he nullifies options – NMS also he said is only a wing.

            so that leaves Dagg and DMac . Smith on leave and JB recovering.

            but with DMac he said like to see him and 10 or even 9.

            i guess when ur winning , u can say whatever u like 🙂

        • Roar Guru

          September 11th 2017 @ 1:58pm
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | September 11th 2017 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

          That is pretty much the backline most of us couch experts want to see this weekend.
          But I doubt the real experts – the AB’s selectors – will pick the same.

          • September 11th 2017 @ 5:11pm
            cuw said | September 11th 2017 @ 5:11pm | ! Report

            SBW plays with Crotty. Kaino may also come in.

            the interesting selections will be props and flankers. i am not sure Ardie is that good at grinding test rugger.

    • Roar Guru

      September 11th 2017 @ 8:59am
      Machooka said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:59am | ! Report

      Morning G… and well wrapped up!

      I, like moaman, felt the games on the w’end where also a little ho-hum. Maybe the helter skelter of Dunedin had me expecting more of the same from the Test match in Perth. Regardless, I wasn’t satisfied by either teams’ performances in what had all the hallmarks of being a titanic encounter. Suffice to say, a game did finally break-out in the second half, although with a disappointing result for all concerned. Maybe. And well may you say… ‘get the hell outta Dodge.’

      Anyhow, onto more positive appraisals… Fifita in the ABs game against the Los Pumas was immense and worth the admission price alone. Your lot just keeps on keeping on eh. I also thought Los Pumas were in the game until their discipline went south, and then the score and the game blew-out.

      I hoped you enjoyed watching the Drua against your Rising… as their inclusion is mutually beneficial to this current NRC. Although, I’m buggered if I can get my head around the Sydney teams in the current NRC… they’re surely too Nth Shore for mine?

      Finally, already really looking forward to next w’end’s Test matches… the Bargies bossing the Wallaby around, and the Bok bringing (hopefully) their ‘A’ game against the Black. As I said elsewhere I don’t expect them to win but I want to see a fight.

      • September 11th 2017 @ 9:06am
        Daveski said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:06am | ! Report

        I don’t know if it’s too North Shore, I mean Parra and Penrith didn’t deserve many spots. It’s just the distribution of the players to the various teams that seems a bit ill-conceived.

        But the footy has been good thus far incl from the 3 NSW teams.

        • Roar Guru

          September 11th 2017 @ 5:56pm
          Machooka said | September 11th 2017 @ 5:56pm | ! Report

          Not complaining about the quality of rugger Daveski… just for who is playing for who 🙂

      • Roar Rookie

        September 11th 2017 @ 9:22am
        Paul D said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:22am | ! Report

        I’m a bit torn as to who to “follow” in the NRC given the Frankenstein make-up of the NSW teams, but I enjoy the contests nonetheless. I guess I’m just watching it for a rugby fix, without a fixation on a particular side. That and looking for standout players.

        Speaking of players on form. Big Jed Holloway seems to be hitting a good patch again. Hopefully he can stay out of the medical ward for a while. He seems like he’s been around forever but is still young.

        • Roar Guru

          September 11th 2017 @ 9:39am
          Train Without A Station said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

          The Sydney teams complained about their lack of consultation with the ARC but given how it’s worked out with them being left to their own devices can you blame anybody for not letting them run their own race?

        • Columnist

          September 11th 2017 @ 9:51am
          Geoff Parkes said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:51am | ! Report

          Daveski, Paul, you guys and others sum up the NRC perfectly. There seems to be growing interest (off a low base) from people genuinely wanting to see good rugby and see new players emerge, but there is also frustration at how the QLD and NSW teams have been out together, which is serving as a road block to potential fans.

          It is a manufactured comp and you can’t invent tribalism overnight, but that said, it does seem that more care and thought should have gone into how these sides are constructed, so that there is a better connection to and from club rugby.

          It’s very frustrating because it shouldn’t be so difficult to get this piece right.

        • Roar Guru

          September 11th 2017 @ 5:59pm
          Machooka said | September 11th 2017 @ 5:59pm | ! Report

          Yeah Paul… I suppose that was my point. But, in saying that, I’m still a Ram’s man.

          And, yes, Jed is in fine wool form. On the paddock… and also with a mic in face 😉

      • September 11th 2017 @ 9:35am
        Muzzo said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:35am | ! Report

        Yeh Chook, Fifita was great, but also how good was Creevy?

        • Roar Guru

          September 11th 2017 @ 6:00pm
          Machooka said | September 11th 2017 @ 6:00pm | ! Report

          Correct old mate… Fifita ffs and Creevy is always good. Solid.

          • Roar Guru

            September 12th 2017 @ 3:35am
            Carlos the Argie said | September 12th 2017 @ 3:35am | ! Report

            First, I don’t know if this post is a repeat of things said below. Sorry if it is.

            The Argies demonstrated again that the ABs are vulnerable down the gut, on the sides of the ruck. They penetrated relatively comfortable close to the “fatties” but had very serious issues when they played to the backs. In the first half, the backs were drifting sideways and facilitating the AB defense immensely. It was similar to what the Irish did in Chicago that the Pumas had some success, near the rucks.

            It is incredibly frustrating that they can’t get the scrum right. There was one (or two scrums) that Moody lifted the Pumas prop but got a penalty for “standing up” instead of for the Pumas for lifting. I am not sure you can blame a guy for standing up when his feet are off the ground…I don’t know what to call that situation.

            But, the game wasn’t really good. Fifita had some amazing runs. Sanchez kept whining instead of playing. And you can’t beat the ABs with only kicks, no matter how far can Boffelli kick. Does anyone remember the French number 7 called Boffelli? he played right before JP Rives. I am diverting, sorry.

            I did watch the first half of the Wallabies before going for the bike ride saturday AM. It was awful. The first five minutes had no rugby at all! I will catch the second half later…

            If the Boks attack the ABs like the Irish did or the Pumas, they will have issues. I don’t think Savea defends that well there, and the ABs have shown vulnerability in that situation for a long time already. Cane will have to stick closer to the ruck as will Squire/Fifita, which may open the field a bit for later.

            And, by the way, I think the Pumas are hopeless, despite the improvement from this weekend. As long as they keep Hourcade, who has a losing record worse than Phelan now, they will not get better.

            I am sure the Aussies remember EJ from long days past when he said the scrum wasn’t important. The WB are still having that problem years and years later. Hourcade will do the same to Argie rugby. Correction, is doing the same….

      • Columnist

        September 11th 2017 @ 9:59am
        Geoff Parkes said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:59am | ! Report

        Hey Chook,

        I really enjoyed the Fiji game, and not just because it was willy-nilly, throw it around rugby – in fact the game was a lot tighter than what most expected, with the Fijians obviously having worked hard on their set piece.

        There will be a lot of sore boys, some of the defence from both sides was brutal.

        I sat next to the Fox Sports commentators Andrew Swain and Cam Shephard, and they really had a blast. It was a shame that the match clashed with the Melbourne Storm final – a lot of the local Fijian community follow the Storm wingers, otherwise they would have helped swell the crowd a bit.

        • Roar Guru

          September 11th 2017 @ 10:02am
          Train Without A Station said | September 11th 2017 @ 10:02am | ! Report

          Thoughts on the Rising Geoff?

          I wasn’t able to get to the game but personally think they have a very young squad.

          I certainly understand there was a lot of talent in their 20s, but with a generally young Super Rugby contingent perhaps some maturity was needed.

          At the same time (with a fair bit of knowledge of who they looked at), perhaps they just didn’t have the experienced Dewar Shield options playing well in the positions they wanted.

          • Roar Pro

            September 11th 2017 @ 11:20am
            Crazy Horse said | September 11th 2017 @ 11:20am | ! Report

            They should adopt the proven Spirit strategy of playing the strongest possible team at home to give the fans something to cheer and ensure some wins and a club heavy development team for the away games to give the Premier grade squad members experience and some travel.

          • Columnist

            September 11th 2017 @ 11:28am
            Geoff Parkes said | September 11th 2017 @ 11:28am | ! Report

            Hi TWAS,

            There are obviously some older heads sprinkled in, eg Hanson, Smith, Cummins, Johansen but yes, it is mostly a very inexperienced squad. Guys like Jeffries, Fox and Leota who have some experience, that’s who they might have been looking for to fill spots.

            They were well beaten in the scrums and while they gave as good as they got in the collisions, gradually the bigger Fijian boys came out on top.

            There is clearly some promising talent in there, Emmanuel Meafou has ability, Vailanu at flanker was very good, and the wingers Ratu and Tupou both have plenty of pace. Hunter Paisami gave it everything – he and Tuipolotu look like a decent centre combination.

            Was surprised Esei Ha’angana didn’t start, after a couple of good run-ons for the Rebels.
            And Jack McGregor at flyhalf was very willing for a small bloke – although the bloke he came up against, Nacebe looks like a special player.

            • Roar Guru

              September 11th 2017 @ 11:34am
              Train Without A Station said | September 11th 2017 @ 11:34am | ! Report

              Hunter has played well the last 2 games but was really outplayed by Eli Vole in the trial match.

              But I don’t think Eli had the level of conditioning required for NRC unfortunately.

              Mahe is such a good footballer. At first surprising to seem him played at 7 having only seen him play hooker, or prop for 20s but I think it suits him. He’s very much in the mould of a skilled attacking 7 like Smith or Hooper.

              The only experienced club players I can think of in the squad are Taufa and Kolio.

              The Dewar Shield is really behind SS and QPR on game speed, but probably a step up physically. I imagine a few quality players over the age of 23 got a bit of a wake up call when the training squad was announced and would see that if they were in decent condition, they’d be close to it.

              A lot of players in there were inferior on talent, but have a much more professional attitude and that’s why they were looked at.

              • Columnist

                September 11th 2017 @ 12:46pm
                Geoff Parkes said | September 11th 2017 @ 12:46pm | ! Report

                That’s a good point, and another reason why the NRC is so important.

                It’s a bridge to professional rugby and a necessary point where players are sorted into those who have the total package to potentially become professional, and those who, for various reasons, are just good club players.

            • Roar Pro

              September 11th 2017 @ 4:42pm
              Crazy Horse said | September 11th 2017 @ 4:42pm | ! Report

              I’m very impressed with McGregor. Definitely one to watch.

              • Columnist

                September 11th 2017 @ 5:55pm
                Geoff Parkes said | September 11th 2017 @ 5:55pm | ! Report

                He’s definitely worth a close look CH.

                The thing is though, we’re unlikely to find out from the NRC if he has a kicking game or not. That’s probably one negative that stands out with this competition. It’s great to see the positive attitude towards running rugby, but it’s to such an extent that it’s not really preparing players for higher up where kicking is a bigger part of the game.

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