Nick Farr-Jones talks to The Roar: “We need someone to be a messiah”

Daniel Jeffrey Editor

By Daniel Jeffrey, Daniel Jeffrey is a Roar Editor

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    Ask anyone to put together a list of the greatest captains to have led the Wallabies, and the odds are Nick Farr-Jones will feature in most of them. The same goes or any list of halfbacks.

    Farr-Jones’ resume is as impressive as you’ll find – he was a member of the side that captured the 1984 Grand Slam, helped Australia capture the 1986 Bledisloe Cup in a series played entirely in New Zealand, and of course was the first Wallabies captain to lift the Rugby World Cup in 1991.

    Add in a four-year stint as chairman of NSW Rugby, and you’ve got one of the most respected voices in Australian rugby.

    We sat down with the 1991 World Cup-winning skipper to talk about a range of issues facing rugby in Australia at the moment, starting with Michael Hooper’s appointment as Wallabies captain before the start of this year’s Rugby Championship.

    “I love his commitment, his passion… I don’t know him well enough to know if he’s got some of the attributes I’ve spoken about. I hope he does. I know Cheika knows him well and I trust Cheika’s judgement to be able to single him out as someone who can be a long-term leader.”

    We also touched on the state of club rugby and what Bill Pulver’s successor will have to do as the next ARU chief executive.

    “What we need now is someone to galvanise, particularly community rugby,” Farr-Jones said.

    “Community rugby survives largely on volunteers. Volunteers, a bit like me, are pretty down on the state of the game; the loss of participation, the increased cost of juniors to participate in the game, the competition we have against the other codes…

    “We need someone who can be out there and be somewhat of a messiah.”

    And, because it’s been way too long since we’ve had a Bledisloe Cup series win to cheer about, we turned back the clock to the successful 1986 tour of New Zealand to talk about the controversial second-Test loss and the subsequent victory in the third and final Test – a match that remains the last time Australia defeated the All Blacks at Eden Park.

    So, sit back and enjoy our interview with Nick in the player above, and keep an eye out for the shorter segments which will be appearing on The Roar in the coming weeks.

    Daniel Jeffrey
    Daniel Jeffrey

    Daniel is Editor of The Roar. You can catch him on Twitter @_d_jeffrey.

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    The Crowd Says (156)

    • September 23rd 2017 @ 5:51am
      Hugo said | September 23rd 2017 @ 5:51am | ! Report

      I’ve been waiting a long, long time for The Roar to interview a legend and get their take on the current scene. We need more of this please. As for nice guy Nick, he constantly says that he’s out of the loop but is actually too polite to be drawn on certain subjects. Campo wouldn’t hold back – love to hear him interviewed. I certainly endorse Nick’s comment re. our chances at the RWC in 2019 – forget about trying to win it. The WBs will want to do as well as they can and will certainly give it the old college try, but we don’t have a world beating team this year, and we’re out of time to get and blood the players we’d need to mount a real challenge. Re finding a messiah – it has to be possible but is there an organized hunt going on? I doubt it.

    • September 23rd 2017 @ 6:36am
      George Maharris said | September 23rd 2017 @ 6:36am | ! Report

      Had Hooper played in one of our golden eras he too would be classed as a legend. He is as good a player as any of our great players and he is only in his mid 20’s. he clearly has all the attributes needed for wallaby captain.

      • September 23rd 2017 @ 7:31am
        sittingbison said | September 23rd 2017 @ 7:31am | ! Report

        Hooper clearly has NONE of the attributes needed for Wallaby captain

        • September 23rd 2017 @ 9:49am
          Blinky Bill of Bellingen said | September 23rd 2017 @ 9:49am | ! Report

          ‘None’? Surely leading from the front is one.

          • Roar Rookie

            September 23rd 2017 @ 11:01am
            Die hard said | September 23rd 2017 @ 11:01am | ! Report

            Ummm Is leading with your chin the same as leading from the front

          • September 23rd 2017 @ 1:49pm
            Ads said | September 23rd 2017 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

            Exactly Blinky. His ref management needs work. But he has passion and committment in spades. He plays 80. He rarely gets injured. They are all qualities you would want in a captain. To say he has no captaincy skills is ludicrous.

            • Roar Guru

              September 23rd 2017 @ 3:02pm
              sheek said | September 23rd 2017 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

              Yes adsa,

              Hooper has many admirable qualities.

              But unlike George Maharris, I wouldn’t be so gushy to say he is a legend. He might be eventually, but he some way to go.

              I’ve been following rugby for 50 years & I wouldn’t have Hooper in my best 3-4 open side flankers.

              His workmate & courage are phenomenal, but he falls into the category of being a very good rugby player rathe than a very good flanker. There are technical deficiencies in his game.

              But he’s the best available, & also the best available captain.

              • September 23rd 2017 @ 8:42pm
                Adsa said | September 23rd 2017 @ 8:42pm | ! Report

                No a at the end Sheek.

          • September 23rd 2017 @ 4:54pm
            Redsfan1 said | September 23rd 2017 @ 4:54pm | ! Report

            I dont think getting blown away at every breakdown is leading from the front. A few fancy runs in the backline isn’t the sign of a true forward pack leader.

            • September 23rd 2017 @ 9:08pm
              Rebellion said | September 23rd 2017 @ 9:08pm | ! Report

              Some pretty laughable comments from Roarers in blue scarves.
              Hooper would be the 3rd best openside (at best) behind Pocock and Gill and maybe even McMahon so you could hardly convince yourself he’ll ever be considered a great.
              His commitment is unquestionable but he lacks height, physicality and skill at the breakdown which actually makes him a liability to his team at times.
              He also can’t inspire fellow players to anything other than mutiny in a Gold Jersey – he’ll be remembered as a coach-slayer and Super rugby winning Tah…not a great deal more.

              • September 25th 2017 @ 7:07pm
                Simoc said | September 25th 2017 @ 7:07pm | ! Report

                Hoopers Australias best forward but he reminds me of Phil Waugh, another who tried so hard but when the going gets tough just gets thrown out of the way.

                That is a rugby problem. For some reason SA has abandoned their legendary physicality but you can bet it will be back at some stage. Big tough guys rule in rugby, it has always been. Moore was such a poor leader thta Hooper is a vast improvement.

                Arguing with any ref has never earned a free kick in the existence of the game. Australia are a long last in PR but give the limp commentators money to fill their tummys.

      • September 25th 2017 @ 10:12am
        marto said | September 25th 2017 @ 10:12am | ! Report

        Hooper would be hover somewhere around 10 th aussie.

        1 Smith
        2 Poido
        3 David Wilson
        4 David Pocock
        5 Phil Waugh
        6 Geoff Miller
        7 Ray Price
        8 Chris Roche
        9 David Croft
        10 Liam Gill
        11 Hooper

        • September 30th 2017 @ 6:54pm
          elvis said | September 30th 2017 @ 6:54pm | ! Report

          You have David Wilson 2 spots short. Smith was part of the team that started not winning anything and hence was part of the problem. And he couldn’t even hold his spot for Phil Waugh, a modest trundler. You have to be part of the team that wins to be a real great, unless you are so far ahead of the pack that it shows. Poido and Wilson were part of a golden era of Australian rugby, and a good part of the reason was them.

          • October 13th 2017 @ 9:24am
            JB said | October 13th 2017 @ 9:24am | ! Report

            That logic just removes quality from the analysis of opposition and individual performance, Wilson would have gotten eaten alive by McCaw, Smith Waugh Pocock are all vastly superior sevens over the ball, the fact that we happened to have Mortlock Herbert Horan and Larkham did not make Wilson a better player just made him look better because they relieved pressure, by making good decisions, strong ball carrying and committed defending. Wilson was a good player don’t get me wrong but to throw him on a pedestal largely built by other great wallabies leads to bias.

    • September 23rd 2017 @ 6:46am
      Adsa said | September 23rd 2017 @ 6:46am | ! Report

      That was excellent thanks Daniel, love the way Nick plays a straight bat.

      • Editor

        September 23rd 2017 @ 9:09am
        Daniel Jeffrey said | September 23rd 2017 @ 9:09am | ! Report

        Glad you enjoyed it Adsa

        • September 23rd 2017 @ 10:41pm
          Lorry said | September 23rd 2017 @ 10:41pm | ! Report

          Yes, fantastic interview, well done!!!
          Nick is so right about the grass roots.

          Got me thinking, one of the problems, ironically, sometimes is tradition though… GPS school boy comp should be expanded to CHS etc over a longer season. There are so few GPS Schools, it should be a bigger comp

    • Columnist

      September 23rd 2017 @ 7:41am
      Geoff Parkes said | September 23rd 2017 @ 7:41am | ! Report

      A messiah?

      Only people called Brian need apply for the ARU CEO position….

      • Columnist

        September 23rd 2017 @ 7:41am
        Geoff Parkes said | September 23rd 2017 @ 7:41am | ! Report

        Thanks Dan btw – great work!

        • Editor

          September 23rd 2017 @ 9:12am
          Daniel Jeffrey said | September 23rd 2017 @ 9:12am | ! Report

          Cheers Geoff. Solid plan to get all the Brians of the world applying. Just need to make sure their mothers don’t notice!

          • Roar Guru

            September 23rd 2017 @ 1:06pm
            Mango Jack said | September 23rd 2017 @ 1:06pm | ! Report


            • September 23rd 2017 @ 10:48pm
              Bakkies said | September 23rd 2017 @ 10:48pm | ! Report


      • Roar Guru

        September 23rd 2017 @ 3:02pm
        sheek said | September 23rd 2017 @ 3:02pm | ! Report


        Neither was Brian a messiah, but just a very naughty boy…..

    • Roar Guru

      September 23rd 2017 @ 7:45am
      Two Eyed Cyclop said | September 23rd 2017 @ 7:45am | ! Report

      Wow!!!! What a lot of sense in what Nick says. The burning question is why people of this calibre are not actively involved in Australian rugby, in whatever capacity.

      The passion and hurt with the current state of the game is palpable.

      • September 23rd 2017 @ 12:02pm
        Bakkies said | September 23rd 2017 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

        Farr Jones did his credibility no good when he got involved in the goings on with Jim Williams and Bruce Worboys.

        • September 23rd 2017 @ 8:00pm
          dean said | September 23rd 2017 @ 8:00pm | ! Report

          the money was put back wasn’t it?

          • September 23rd 2017 @ 10:51pm
            Bakkies said | September 23rd 2017 @ 10:51pm | ! Report

            It was apparently. Shouldn’t have done it in the first place.

            • Roar Guru

              September 24th 2017 @ 8:04am
              PeterK said | September 24th 2017 @ 8:04am | ! Report

              the tried to hide it and only fixed when nswru uncovered it.

              That does put a question mark against his integrity

              Certainly don’t want people who are up to financial misdeeds and cover them up involved in running the aru.

              • September 24th 2017 @ 9:54am
                Bakkies said | September 24th 2017 @ 9:54am | ! Report

                ‘Certainly don’t want people who are up to financial misdeeds and cover them up involved in running the aru.’

                That’s already happening. You would think it would be a prerequisite for a ARU gig these days.

                I see Raelene Castle is a potential candidate and is auditioning well in regards to the people mismanagement criteria given her lousy treatment of Des Hasler and James Graham.

              • September 24th 2017 @ 4:56pm
                Train Without A Station said | September 24th 2017 @ 4:56pm | ! Report

                Care to support your slander with any facts?

              • September 24th 2017 @ 11:06pm
                Bakkies said | September 24th 2017 @ 11:06pm | ! Report

                ‘Care to support your slander with any facts?’

                Stick to shredding and defending your ‘mates’

      • September 23rd 2017 @ 10:42pm
        Lorry said | September 23rd 2017 @ 10:42pm | ! Report

        Agreed, and although he’s a polarizing figure, Campo is a genius. He is the Pele of rugby and should be involved somehow… If he was a footballer in Latin America he wouldn’t have been on the outer for 20 years like he has been in Australia…

    • Roar Guru

      September 23rd 2017 @ 7:45am
      Two Eyed Cyclop said | September 23rd 2017 @ 7:45am | ! Report


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