Scotland the blueprint as Wallabies end 2017 with another backward step

Brett McKay Columnist

By Brett McKay, Brett McKay is a Roar Expert

 , , ,

262 Have your say

Popular article! 5,497 reads

    I’ve often thought that the way Ireland structured themselves for the professional game was the model Australian rugby should be looking at.

    Over the weekend however it became very clear that Scotland is the team the Wallabies can learn the most from in the short term.

    Ireland and Australia – now – are similar in their professional set-up. Domestically they have four teams, two of them traditional powerhouses and one more nipping at their heels, and a fourth initially set-up as a development path, but certainly capable of success, as Connacht showed in 2015-16.

    Ireland’s High-Performance Unit, now run by former Queensland hooker and Brumbies and Blues coach, David Nucifora, makes no bones about its intent. They want to win a Rugby World Cup and become the best team in the world.

    They’re aggressive in the way they’re trying to do this, particularly around the recruitment of ‘project players’, but realistically, they’re doing whatever they think they need to do to compete with the Englands and New Zealands of the world.

    In terms of structure and working to a common goal, Australian rugby could learn a lot from their Irish counterparts, and indeed, after a few lean years, Ireland look to be on a solid upward trajectory again.

    Scotland haven’t quite got the same professional setup and the development pathways as Ireland – they’re still clearing up the various amateur and semi-professional tiers below the professional sides (sound familiar?) – but the Scottish game is improving nicely courtesy of a resurgent national side. The Scots have in the last week and a bit pushed the All Blacks to the very end, and now run up a record win over Australia.

    That’s a fair way I’ve gone to get to this one point: it was hard to be too upset about Scotland’s thumping win over the Wallabies because they’re doing exactly what Australian rugby wants to do. They’re winning their way to public popularity.

    Their win at Murrayfield was exactly the sort of rugby the Wallabies wish they could play consistently. Scotland’s former Kiwi coach Vern Cotter worked wonders with their defensive setup and ironed out some significant frailties over the course of his tenure, and since taking over, former champion flyhalf Gregor Townsend has built upon this crucial foundation one of the best attacking games in world rugby.

    Hooper Beale

    (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

    Scotland play, on the surface, a pretty simple game. Their set piece is pretty solid; consistently well-performing, capable of upsetting the best packs in the game in any one contest, but still not perfect. Their breakdown has always been strong, but now it is both strong and confident.

    And from these two important bases, they attack with flair. They are only too willing to play to the strengths of the individuals in the side. In Finn Russell and Huw Jones, Scotland have two genuinely world class attacking players to build around, and they both played starring roles in the crushing win over the Wallabies.

    It’s no wonder there is serious optimism around Scotland’s Six Nations chance now. So good was their display, the UK bookies have wound them in to third favourites for the 2018 series. They trail England and are now not far behind Ireland at all.

    Historically, Australia has beaten Scotland twice in every three matches going back ninety years. But the rivalry has built up nicely over the last decade, with Scotland going from being a bit of a pain in the arse in the late 2010s to now being a full-blown bogey side, with no fear of playing the Wallabies at all.

    The wood the Wallabies have over Wales is exactly the same as what the Scots currently hold over Australia.

    The 53-24 win on Saturday now means Scotland have won four of the last seven matches between the two sides since 2009. It’s two-nil in 2017 now, and if the scoreboard didn’t really reflect Scotland’s dominance in Sydney back in June, it certainly did the second time around.

    The three must-improve items I listed after the loss to England last week remain unaddressed.

    Australia’s go-forward was again lacking overall. They carried roughly the same amount but made only two-thirds as much ground Scotland did. And the Scots did more with it. They had 18 clean breaks to three, and 35 defenders beaten to 20. While Scotland defended at 90 per cent efficiency from more than 200 tackle attempts, the Wallabies missed one in every four.

    Improved discipline? Don’t make me laugh. From the moment Sekope Kepu decided to clear out Hamish Watson to the moment his shoulder connected with the Scottish flanker’s chin, there wasn’t a single element of legality. Arm tucked in, led with the shoulder, forceful impact, contact with the head. The decision to pull the red card out was so obvious, it didn’t need the confirming TMO consultation.

    Sekope Kepu

    (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

    As for Kurtley Beale, his attempts to explain away his deliberate knocking of the ball dead-in-goal were even more pitiful than last week against England. A tip Kurtley, when your pleading doesn’t even remotely match the abundant evidence being replayed above your head, you’re not helping your cause.

    Urgency? As bad as last week’s, and maybe even worse in conceding five tries in the last 31 minutes. As with last week, the closest jersey to a loose ball was rarely gold.

    And so for yet another year, the Wallabies have again failed to capitalise on some very promising improvements shown during the international season.

    A 7-5-2 win-loss-draw record is technically a winning season, but I think we all know that seven from fourteen is barely par. Once again, the term ‘consistently inconsistent’ is the best descriptor of a Wallabies side that still doesn’t really know how to make the most of opportunities or any slight hint of momentum.

    Calls that the Brisbane Bledisloe win would be another false dawn were mostly cynical guesswork at the time, but worryingly accurate in the end.

    Michael Cheika has used a lot of players in 2017, another dozen or so debutants along the way, but it still feels like we’re as far away as ever from knowing what the best side looks like. While there is genuine depth in some areas – like the outside backs and even the centres – it still feels like the lock combination is a lottery.

    Michael Cheika Wallabies

    (Photo by Jason O’Brien/Getty Images)

    There’s theoretically a traceable lineage of back-up no.9s, yet the notional third-choice scrumhalf wouldn’t have played four full games at any level since early August. Flyhalf is even worse, with the second-choice playing on the wing, and the assumed third choice probably still enjoying NRC celebrations.

    The Wallabies, therefore, have ended 2017 as they started, which is probably fitting for what truly has been the annus horribilis for Australian rugby.

    But there are plenty of lessons to be taken out of the Scotland games this year. We just need to look beyond the results themselves, and look more deeply at how they came to be.

    Brett McKay
    Brett McKay

    Brett McKay is one of The Roar's good news stories and has been a rugby and cricket expert for the site since July 2009. Brett is an international and Super Rugby commentator for ABC Grandstand radio, has commentated on the Australian Under-20s Championships and National Rugby Championship live stream coverage, and has written for magazines and websites in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK. He tweets from @BMcSport.

    This video is trending right now! Submit your videos for the chance to win a share of $10,000!

    Have Your Say

    If not logged in, please enter your name and email before submitting your comment. Please review our comments policy before posting on the Roar.

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (262)

    • November 28th 2017 @ 6:20am
      mz.ilikazi said | November 28th 2017 @ 6:20am | ! Report

      That is a good article , Brett. Thanks.

      “Their win at Murrayfield was exactly the sort of rugby the Wallabies wish they could play consistently. ‘

      Very significant point. Australia in my lifetime have often been the most exciting team in the world to watch, playing a game based on using their great flair, especially in the backs.

      As a schools coach in Ireland, I learned and copied a lot from the way Australia played the game. And as an Australian since 1988, I have enjoyed the great periods of Australian rugby.

      I have no doubt that right now we have the players and the talent to get back to playing the way we, IMO, should be playing…the way Scotland are playing, the way Wales are beginning to play, and the way the All Blacks now play.

      What we have however, is a chaotic situation at so many levels in Australian rugby…..from the very top administrators, down through the coaching and decision making structures, to the players on the field.

      These shortcomings have to be addressed, and very fast. Otherwise a very talented group of players will be wasted….and that will be criminal.

      • November 28th 2017 @ 7:07am
        richard said | November 28th 2017 @ 7:07am | ! Report

        The AB’s have been playing a 15 man game for the last 30 years.You would be going back to the 1970’s to find AB sides playing 10 man rugby.It is not something new.

        • November 28th 2017 @ 1:20pm
          mz.ilikazi said | November 28th 2017 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

          Would you say, Richard, that the teams of the past 30 years have all played as much of a running and passing game as the teams of, say the last 8 years ?

          • November 29th 2017 @ 6:11am
            richard said | November 29th 2017 @ 6:11am | ! Report

            Not to the same level,no.But,when I think of the sides like the 1987-90,1995-7 and the 2003-4 team to the present era,they all played running rugby,and to the highest level.

            I think there is a misconception that ‘traditional” NZ rugby was a 10 man game.There has certainly been periods like that,but not for some time.

      • Roar Rookie

        November 28th 2017 @ 12:33pm
        Die hard said | November 28th 2017 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

        I also am not sure what you mean by the All Blacks now play. From the 1905 team to the north till Fred the Needle in the sixties right up till today with the exception of the seventies they have scored the most tries generation after generation.

        All backs vs All Blacks is how they won their name.

        • November 28th 2017 @ 1:17pm
          mz.ilikazi said | November 28th 2017 @ 1:17pm | ! Report

          ” scored the most tries generation after generation.” Don’t dispute that at all, but does not mean those past sides played as inclusive a game as the teams of most recent vintage. The big crash ball centres days..players like Ian McCrae…I used to find it frustrating that the AB’s did not play a more open game. And remember after the first WC win, there was a long drought.

        • Roar Guru

          November 28th 2017 @ 3:19pm
          PeterK said | November 28th 2017 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

          there were many decades when it was a forward orientated game by the ab’s, probably due to the laws at the time.

          • November 28th 2017 @ 4:28pm
            sheek said | November 28th 2017 @ 4:28pm | ! Report

            The ABs have always played played “momentum” rugby. Just because they’re not spinning it through the backs doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining.

            In the 1970s for example, the ABs had evolved forward rushes through quick rucking to a high degree of expertise. They made huge metres then tossed it to the backs when the opposition defence was in disarray.

            By the late 80s, having learnt from watching guys like Ella & Campese, the ABs evolved their game further whereby both forwards & backs interacted in exhilarating play.

            It’s been the modus operandi for 30 years now, sometimes better or lesser depending on the quality of the players involved.

          • December 4th 2017 @ 6:09am
            richard said | December 4th 2017 @ 6:09am | ! Report

            “many decades” is pushing it.Up until the 1950’s the AB’s played a 15 man game.That changed after the 1949 tour to SA,where NZ were beaten 4-0 trying to play 15 man rugby,which failed dismally.They then went into their shell,playing 10 man rugby through the 1950’s,This was never more clear than the series v the Lions in 1959.

            The early sixties saw the start of a more open game,which blossomed into 15 man rugby when Fred Allen became AB coach in 1966.The seventies and early eighties were a dark period for running rugby,but since 1987,NZ have essentially played to that template – an all court game – with varying degrees of success.

            So no,”many decades” couldn’t be further from the truth.

      • Columnist

        November 28th 2017 @ 1:31pm
        Brett McKay said | November 28th 2017 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

        Great post, Mz.ilikazi

        “What we have however, is a chaotic situation at so many levels in Australian rugby…..from the very top administrators, down through the coaching and decision making structures, to the players on the field.”

        This is where I hope the Rod Kafer role can have a real impact. Already, we know the SR coaches have met several times, and the state S&C guys are too. Finally, we might be getting closer to a concerted effort around player preparations and rehab work. If Cheika need a certain level of fitness for the Wallabies guys, then that needs to be happening while they’re playing SR, not when they first come into national camp…

    • Roar Guru

      November 28th 2017 @ 6:33am
      Harry Jones said | November 28th 2017 @ 6:33am | ! Report

      Thanks for the article, Brett. As you know, I suspect you are secretly Greig Laidlaw in disguise, and now you are advocating a Scottish makeover for Australia! Makes sense.

      So, I’m not actually sure what the Cheika Plan is. If we look at what he did at Leinster and NSW, he seemed to be able to string together 2-3 good seasons by playing a sort of “low-kick” battering ram waves of attack by an abrasive pack (at club level) featuring decent ball control/security, attack-minded backs (Beale, Folau, Foley, Phipps) with unpredictability that allowed them to surmount their technical flaws, wildly motivated players who liked him, and keeping turnovers down.

      At Stade Français, he didn’t manage relationships well, and it’s possible he is starting to run into that problem, again.

      To be fair, Cheika inherited a turbulent SS Wallaby ship.

      But the manner of the Scotland defeat, the increasing yellow/red card issue (Australia had 8; England only 1), his 1-6 record against England, the 170-309 cumulative score versus NZ, no win against Ireland (even the horrendous 2016 Boklings beat Schmidt twice), the 55-ish% record after several years, the draws against woeful SA, and referee issues … suggest a coach running into his limits.

      England and Scotland both seemed pacier, happier, fitter, and more lively than Cheika’s squad. And both opponents kicked more than Australia, who seem to be giving foes too much quality turnover ball. It’s like an NBA team using up all their shot clock again and again, but turning the ball over and watching the other team run fast break and dunk, as the game wears on.

      Was 2015 a one-off chimera?

      Then again, 2019’s draw is vaguely reminiscent of 2015, but easier.

      Cheika needs to beat Fiji, Wales, a qualifier, and Georgia (easier than England in 2015); then win a QF vs France or Argentina (both are not as good as Australia and lack time to catch up) From then, it’s big boys, of course, but even getting to a SF versus NZ or SA is probably a success, and anything can happen.

      I think Scotland’s young defensive guru from QLD (Matt Taylor) would be one of Cheika’s best steals. But perhaps there’s a Link issue.

      It just feels like the Wallabies are starting to resemble Cheika: talented, a bit frenetic, and often unwise.

      (But in better shape than the soft Boks!)

      • Roar Guru

        November 28th 2017 @ 7:42am
        Diggercane said | November 28th 2017 @ 7:42am | ! Report

        As you know, I suspect you are secretly Greig Laidlaw in disguise, and now you are advocating a Scottish makeover for Australia! Makes sense.

        Yes, I also believe this to be true.

      • November 28th 2017 @ 8:47am
        nickbrisbane said | November 28th 2017 @ 8:47am | ! Report

        Get rid of Gray and lure Matt Taylor back

      • November 28th 2017 @ 8:48am
        Daveski said | November 28th 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report

        Terrific post Harry. I think you’ve just assessed the absolute you-know-what out of the Wallabies current situation!

      • November 28th 2017 @ 8:50am
        bigbaz said | November 28th 2017 @ 8:50am | ! Report

        Water finds it’s own level and I guess we’re a bit lower in the bucket than we thought.

      • November 28th 2017 @ 9:29am
        wally said | November 28th 2017 @ 9:29am | ! Report

        With Beale dropping back to full back in NH tour, it meant Foley needed to pick up more tactics, organisation and general game management. Beale did all this in the Brisbane victory, foley was largely invisible. When Foley then came up against quality 10s in NH, the wallabies were bossed around.
        Also by picking Kerevi at 12 and shifting Beale to 15, it effectively shifted Folau’s go-forward and attacking potency into the centres… which meant it was up to the 10 to release this potency. When has Foley ever utilised his centres effectively ? (i’ll tell you, the answer is never).

        This wass a great line too – “To be fair, Cheika inherited a turbulent SS Wallaby ship.” – ha ha ha. sure, but it was “his boys” (as he referred to them during super rugby) who were the boat rockers at the time. Since becoming coach he has willingly embraced those very protagonists… still does. and forced non-protagonists to look for greener pastures offshore. Karma.

        • Roar Guru

          November 28th 2017 @ 9:41am
          PeterK said | November 28th 2017 @ 9:41am | ! Report


          Also Beale is far too vulnerable to the highball.

          Low and behold with Folau out the NH teams are now able to exploit the highball kick and chase against the wallabies which Folau defused.

          Note at intl level DHP is not good enough under the highball to do this job.

          If Kerevi and TK are the centres you need Cooper or CLL at 10 to be able to put Kerevi or TK into a gap and not be restricted to short passes using Kerevi as a battering ram in crash ball rugby.

          Foley lacks the nous and playmaking ability and if he is 10 , and he actually plays like a running 12 then he needs a 10 at 12 to do the playmaking duties.

          If Foley is 10 then Beale 12 and Folau 15 is a lot better combination.
          Foley obviously should be dropped, he won’t be.

          Also Coleman for his go forward was sorely missed. It is obvious that his partner should be Arnold or Tui. Simmons time is up unless of course the same amount of lock injuries hit again.

          • Roar Guru

            November 28th 2017 @ 10:45am
            Hoy said | November 28th 2017 @ 10:45am | ! Report

            I agree with all said above.

            All of which leads me to believe we don’t have the tactician availble within Cheika’s squad to help Aus out of where it is at the moment, either in the coaching team, or the actual playing roster.

            So we will snag a few wins, looking pretty good at times, and then get pumped when we come up against a team that has bothered to create some tactics to counter our game…

            • November 28th 2017 @ 11:38am
              sheek said | November 28th 2017 @ 11:38am | ! Report


              Which is why Cheika tried to do a Macqueen & find his own Larkham, by trying Hodge at #10.

              Still worth another try. I think even Cheika realises Foley isn’t the man to lead the Wallabies to victory in the next world cup. But the cupboard is presently bare, if you exclude Cooper from discussion. So he sticks with him, & prays…..

              NSW, for all its vast resources, hasn’t produced another Ella since well, Ella. And Ella retired in 1984.

              Says a lot about the production line…..

              • November 28th 2017 @ 11:44am
                Fionn said | November 28th 2017 @ 11:44am | ! Report

                No, Sheek, he tried Hodge at 10 because Foley was injured.

                Who gives an F what NSW produces? It is about what Australia produces. Lealiifano, Lance, Cooper all offer more than Foley. Change the selection laws and bring Toomua back at 10. Even Paia’aua, as much as I think he is a longterm 12 as opposed to a 10, surely offers more than Foley, especially once given 60 Tests and 3-4 years of incumbency as Foley has had.

              • Roar Guru

                November 28th 2017 @ 12:07pm
                Hoy said | November 28th 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

                Yeah, nah Sheek, Foley was injured… but it does show that Cheika needs his head read by even considering Hodge an option for international 10, when he can’t pass left to right at all. Is this what we have become as a rugby nation?

                And I agree with Fionn. I don’t care if Tasmania produces the next great 10. Certainly doesn’t have to be NSW, or are you a bit tongue in cheek there that it must be NSW?

              • November 28th 2017 @ 1:07pm
                sheek said | November 28th 2017 @ 1:07pm | ! Report


                It doesn’t matter that Foley was injured. Cheika saw an opportunity to try something different..

                What NSW produces is important, whether you like it or not, because it is the biggest rugby state.

                I was mentioning NSW to point out the endemic disease facing Australian rugby, but I guess you missed it. If NSW can’t produce quality talent, it makes it even more difficult for the other states.

                Anyway, minus WA from producing future Wallabies for the moment. The entire state has been disenfranchised in case you missed it…..

              • Roar Guru

                November 28th 2017 @ 1:13pm
                Fionn said | November 28th 2017 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

                Sheek, sorry, but you’re wrong there. There were NO backup 10 in the squad (Beale was injured also). Literally by definition he had to try something different. You cannot credit him for trying something different when it was forced by (a) injury and (b) the stupidity of him not taking a second fly-half on tour.

                Not really. The Wallabies went through a golden period in the 1990s until the early 2000s while NSW was wallowing in mediocrity. The strength of the ACT and Queensland meant the Wallabies were great. Sure, it would be better if NSW was strong too, but the point is, we don’t need any single state to be strong, we just need to be strong nationally.

                Believe me, I didn’t miss it.

              • Roar Pro

                November 28th 2017 @ 2:24pm
                Matt Davis said | November 28th 2017 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

                Hodge was the back-up 10. Has been all year. They explicitly said this in multiple interviews?

              • November 28th 2017 @ 1:25pm
                mz.ilikazi said | November 28th 2017 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

                “Change the selection laws and bring Toomua back at 10.” Good, Fionn, keep saying that…..and the more who put pressure on for selection policy changes the better.

              • Roar Guru

                November 28th 2017 @ 1:48pm
                Fionn said | November 28th 2017 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

                mz.ilikazi, I agree with trying to keep Aussie players in Australia, and prioritising domestic players when possible.

                That being said, I believe the current selection criteria is too strict. It is currently 8 years in Aussie SR + 60 Tests. I think it should be 8 years + 30 Tests or even 8 years + 0 Tests. This both keeps most players in Australia, but also allows the Wallabies to field (usually) close to their strongest international side.

                Toomua was a loyal servant of Australian rugby for a long time, and only moved overseas once (a) he didn’t get the caps that he deserved as Cheika continually overlooked him in favour of players who were inferior at that stage of their careers (Toomua was better than Giteau in 2015 and 16) and (b) due to injuries. A guy like Toomua should have fair more caps than he currently does, and he is undoubtedly one of the best backs Australia could choose from.

                Toomua should either play 10 or, preferably 12 outside of whoever is playing better out of Lealiifano, Cooper or Lance. We know what Foley brings, and he isn’t good enough. If he has a big improvement next year and is the best 10 then of course he should be picked, but it seems unlikely based on what he has displayed thus far.

              • Roar Guru

                November 28th 2017 @ 2:45pm
                Fionn said | November 28th 2017 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

                Um, no he didn’t specifically say as much. He hinted at various times that the backup 10 could be Beale, Hodge or Hunt. Even Paia’aua was discussed as a possible for the Spring Tour.

                Quade was the backup 10 in June. Since then there was no anointed one.

              • November 28th 2017 @ 3:34pm
                Phil said | November 28th 2017 @ 3:34pm | ! Report

                Sheek,no matter what Fionn says in his comment below about “who gives an F what NSW produces”,it is rather sad that in probably the largest rugby “nursery” in the country,we have not been able to produce a top class 10.To me,it has been one of the Waratahs biggest areas of concern.Even Foley started out as a fullback,had a good year when they won the comp, but has never really risen to any great heights since.
                Like Fionn,I also don’t give an F where they come from,but you would hope NSW would at least be able to produce an occasional good one.

              • Roar Rookie

                November 28th 2017 @ 3:42pm
                piru said | November 28th 2017 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

                it is rather sad that in probably the largest rugby “nursery” in the country,we have not been able to produce a top class 10.

                Could it be because Aussie rugby seems intent on ‘finding’ players rather than creating them?

                Why spend money teaching Foley to kick or Lance to sidestep when you can spend it on an ex league player?

                You think Dan Carter and Jonny Wilkinson just happened?
                DC spent a good few years as Mehrtens and Spencer’s 12 learning the ropes.

                NSW should throw some money at Merhts seeing as he seems to live in Sydney and get him out developing young flyhalves

              • Roar Rookie

                November 28th 2017 @ 4:57pm
                Die hard said | November 28th 2017 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

                So true Piru. I thought in fact Carter started as a second five eight and was brought in to first five.

              • Roar Guru

                November 28th 2017 @ 4:09pm
                John R said | November 28th 2017 @ 4:09pm | ! Report

                The weird thing is Piru, Mehrtens used to be the kicking coach at the Tahs!

                Think he only did the one season in 2014. But he was definitely there.

              • Roar Rookie

                November 28th 2017 @ 5:05pm
                piru said | November 28th 2017 @ 5:05pm | ! Report

                The weird thing is Piru, Mehrtens used to be the kicking coach at the Tahs!

                Think he only did the one season in 2014. But he was definitely there

                Perhaps when they persisted with Foley kicking he decided he didn’t want his fingerprints on that train wreck.

              • Roar Guru

                November 29th 2017 @ 7:56am
                John R said | November 29th 2017 @ 7:56am | ! Report

                Or. Glass half full here. He couldn’t bring himself to coaching him kicking anymore after he slotted that penalty to win the comp in 2014.

                Being a proud Canterburian and all.

              • November 30th 2017 @ 2:39am
                ThugbyFan said | November 30th 2017 @ 2:39am | ! Report

                Could never understand why M.Cheika tried R.Hodge at 5/8. Blind Freddy watching the Rebels over the last 2 years could see Hodge has issues with accurate and quick long passes on both sides. Add that Cheika is wedded (with good reasons) to at least one good winger able to drop back as a 2nd fb as cover to the starter fullback. That being the case and no I.Folau or DHP, then play K.Hunt at fb and keep R.Hodge on the wing.

                This would have meant just one change from the relatively successful attacking WB backline throughout the RC2017. Moving Beale to fb, then SK to IC threw all that system out the window. Far easier with Folau out, Hunt in. Footy is just like studying maths, KISS aka: Keep It Simple, Stupid!

                Moving Beale to fb was a disaster, for all the talk of his efforts at Wasps and his previous games for the WB at fb, he is too mistake prone and rarely tackles. At least once in every game of the EOYT, when faced with 2 or more blokes coming at him with the ball, Beale took the easy option and went for a glory or bust intercept instead of a tackle. Every time he was stood up and made a bad situation worse. His constant moving positions just wore him out.

                Further the SK-TK centre pairing was just bash and barge, hoping that B.Foley might send them through a gap. The Foley-SK-TK midfield was shown up as not up to international level on the June2016 England tour, why it was resurrected I honestly do not know.

          • November 28th 2017 @ 10:55am
            Chillidog said | November 28th 2017 @ 10:55am | ! Report

            Foley has enjoyed far more time than his form deserved. Logic demands he must be dropped – his consistent inclusion highlights how far Cheika has fallen. Cheika’s commitment to Foley has moved beyond faith and motivation and into stubbornness… pride even. Would Eddie pick Foley? Or Hansen?

          • November 28th 2017 @ 12:31pm
            Russell Neville said | November 28th 2017 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

            Good Post Peter. In an ideal world how would we address these issues. A selection panel of 3 plus the coach, i.e., as in the Australian cricket selectors. Stephen Moore, Nick Phipps, Tom Robertson are three examples of poor selections lacking in objective scrutiny. Even Hunt at 10 may offer more than Foley. Cheika has stuck with Foley and as you say with Folau at 15 and Beale at 12, Foley doesn’t look too bad but his lack of nous is exposed with Kerevi at 12. In the forwards: Best Locks option: Coleman and Tui with Arnold off the bench then Pocock at 7 and Scott Higginbotham at 8 (what has he done to be banished) and then Hooper at 6. At least you have 3 line-out options. McMahon on the bench. Do we keep Kepu or is this the coach’s doing? The other option is to sack Chieka now (21 months out from RWC 2019) and introduce a new Head Coach and the 3 man selection panel with non-yes men in the assistant coach roles.

          • November 28th 2017 @ 11:34pm
            Rebellion said | November 28th 2017 @ 11:34pm | ! Report

            Makes me wonder what Eddie Jones could offer with Matt Taylor, Jim McKay, Chook Fowler and Mick Byrne as his assistants

      • November 28th 2017 @ 9:41am
        PiratesRugby said | November 28th 2017 @ 9:41am | ! Report

        Good post Harry. There’s something attractive about a team prepared to carry the ball as much as possible. The RWC03 semi final against NZ was one of the best games I ever watched.
        But if you’re going to play that way all the time, teams are going to work you out. They’ll apply pressure to your playmakers, ball carriers and at the breakdown. I can’t understand why Cheika has surrendered the breakdown. Our best backrowers make way for light, inaccurate fops like Hanigan or Mumm. Hooper, for all his relentless dynamism, is just poor at the breakdown. He was fine in RWC15 because Pocock, Fardy and a couple of other forwards did the breakdown work. A light trio of Hooper, McMahon and Hanigan are just a white flag.
        In any case, I see Hooper and McMahon as both competing for the same bench spot. They’re both 7s but inferior to Pocock (and Gill if we’re being honest). Hooper is faster in open play, both tackle well, McMahon is better with ball in hand and hits much harder.
        If the Wallabies are going play a ball in hand style of game, we certainly have enough talented backs to pull it off but we need security over the ball once the tackle is made. There’s nothing wrong with Hooper or McMahon coming on with 20 to go against a tired opposition pack. They would indeed make excellent finishers.

        • November 28th 2017 @ 10:47am
          Fionn said | November 28th 2017 @ 10:47am | ! Report

          Next year the back-row should be 7. Pocock, 8. Naisarani and whoever is best out of R. Haylett-Petty, Valetini, Timani, Higginbotham, McCalman and Timu. There’s a back-row that can dominate the breakdown. There’s a back-row that offers powerful barrier in tight. There’s a breakdow who, depending who you go for, offers 4 primary line out targets or, at a minimum, 3 primaries and one secondary.

          Instead, we will get 7. Hooper, 8. Pocock and a 6 of Hanigan. A back-row that is weak at the breakdown (because despite Pocock being the best in the world there, he can’t play against 3 men himself), a back-row that is weak at ball carrying in the tight, and a back-row that is poor in the line out.

          I would also change eligibility laws to just say 8 years in Australian rugby is enough for Wallaby selection if plying one’s trade overseas, or 8 years + 30 caps, or 60 caps. Instead, we have a situation in which Toomua, a loyal Aussie player who would be our perfect 12, isn’t eligible for the Wallabies just because coaches never valued him enough.

          We need a 10-12 of Lealiifano-Toomua, Lance-Toomua or Cooper-Toomua depending on who is the best. If we are forced to bear Foley at 10 then we need Lealiifano at 12 to do the kicking and playmaking for Foley.

          • November 28th 2017 @ 12:05pm
            ben said | November 28th 2017 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

            yip used to think that hooper and ardie savea would be change the way seven plays the game interesting that now ardie has been dropped from the abs and replaced by todd and told he needs to play tighter and make more turnovers

          • Roar Pro

            November 28th 2017 @ 2:26pm
            Matt Davis said | November 28th 2017 @ 2:26pm | ! Report

            That would also be an ARU call not a Cheika call, he already brought in what was a monumental overhaul in 8 and 60. For what it’s worth I think it should be 8years pro and/or 60 tests.

          • November 28th 2017 @ 3:46pm
            Phil said | November 28th 2017 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

            As usual,Fionn,you let your anti-NSW bias take over everything.Probably the backrower who showed most this year,apart from McMahon,was Dempsey,but he doesn’t get a mention from you.Instead you throw in guys like Timu,Valetini(both promising,but unproven at test level),Higginbotham(looked great in Super but seems not to reproduce in tests)and McAlman(whole hearted player but not exceptional).
            I would love to see Lealiifano reproduce the form of a few years back and,if he did,I would have him in the team without a doubt.Hopefully he stays healthy.Unless he has a stellar 2018 Super season,I just can’t see why Cooper’s name keeps getting put up as our saviour.

          • November 28th 2017 @ 11:46pm
            Rebellion said | November 28th 2017 @ 11:46pm | ! Report

            1. Sio
            2. Uelese
            3. Kepu
            4. Coleman
            5. Arnold
            6. McMahon
            7. Pocock
            8. Higginbotham
            9. Genia
            10. Cooper
            11. Koroibete
            12. Toomua
            13. Hodge
            14. Naivalu
            15. Folau

            16. TPN
            17. Slipper
            18. Ala’alatoa
            19. Rodda
            20. Dempsey
            21. Powell
            22. Foley
            23. Beale

            If Higginbotham can’t play into some form over 6 straight tests then i’d swap Dempsey into the starting lineup and bring Hooper onto the bench.
            The guys who really need to stand up next season are Latu, Ready and Tui. Arnold is still a bit of a Mark Waugh as a test player. Outstanding one-off performances followed by Rob Simmons like lethargy for several matches

        • November 28th 2017 @ 1:59pm
          Jerry said | November 28th 2017 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

          While I’ll freely admit my enjoyment of that semi-final may have been affected by the scoreline, I don’t recall Aus being particularly exciting in that match. They carried the ball a lot, but didn’t look to do a lot with it. They were essentially trying to hold on to the ball as much as possible and not give NZ any counter attacking opportunities but this meant they didn’t spread the ball or actually probe for gaps. Very effective, sure, but not particularl inventive or ambitious. There’s a reason they only scored one try and that from an intercept.

          • November 28th 2017 @ 3:00pm
            AC said | November 28th 2017 @ 3:00pm | ! Report

            Sounds just like Saturday against the Scots, spreading it continually yet going nowhere and easily covered.

            • November 28th 2017 @ 4:46pm
              Jerry said | November 28th 2017 @ 4:46pm | ! Report

              Two major differences.

              They kept hold of the ball extremely well. Didn’t give away many penalties, didn’t turn the ball over and almost never kicked it away other than to touch – and secondly the fact that with the intercept they had an early lead and NZ had to chase the game. If NZ had scored that try through Muliaina immediately before the intercept, it’s a different game, but with the lead Aus could hold onto the ball without scoreboard pressure.

      • November 28th 2017 @ 9:42am
        RahRah said | November 28th 2017 @ 9:42am | ! Report

        Cheika has reached the limit of his coaching abilities. He has no plan B nor has he displayed any ability to adapt to the changing and evolving game around him.
        His consistent selection of a defensive plan that clearly does not work, players out of position, and other players he favors over those that are more deserving, illustrate his intransigence and clueless belligerence.
        I have likened him to Capt Ahab many times before and the more we continue with him the more I am convinced he will lead us down the same path.

      • November 28th 2017 @ 10:26am
        Charlie Turner said | November 28th 2017 @ 10:26am | ! Report

        Good comment Harry. Are the Wallabies really travelling better than the Boks? Both countries are hamstrung by a quota policy, the Boks with their racial quota and the Wallabies with Cheika’s mates.

        I have always admired the way South African captains and coaches conduct themselves in post game speeches, always gracious and magnanimous (with the exception of the loopy P Divvy). The Wallabies need to start there and work their way forward.

        I suspect there would need to be a change in coach before Matt Taylor took up a Wallabies role.

        • Roar Guru

          November 28th 2017 @ 10:32am
          PeterK said | November 28th 2017 @ 10:32am | ! Report

          The current Bok coach gives poor post game speeches. Blames losses on everything but himself.

          • November 28th 2017 @ 10:35am
            sheek said | November 28th 2017 @ 10:35am | ! Report

            PK – Just like most pollies & CEOs…..

          • November 28th 2017 @ 10:53am
            Charlie Turner said | November 28th 2017 @ 10:53am | ! Report

            Agreed but he falls under the quota so it seemed redundant to mention it.

          • Roar Guru

            November 28th 2017 @ 4:20pm
            Harry Jones said | November 28th 2017 @ 4:20pm | ! Report

            Agree, PeterK.

      • November 28th 2017 @ 10:46am
        HarryT said | November 28th 2017 @ 10:46am | ! Report

        “At Stade Français, he didn’t manage relationships well, and it’s possible he is starting to run into that problem, again.”

        Sorry Harry, but I strongly disagree. From the Chairman to the ballboys there is strong support for Cheika. Even those players he has moved on have never spoken of any dissatisfaction with his methods. Colleagues from the fashion industry, Leinster and the Waratahs all speak in glowing terms of his time in their organisations.

        • November 28th 2017 @ 10:59am
          JP said | November 28th 2017 @ 10:59am | ! Report

          ^ So what!! . he still cannot coach at test level.

          • November 28th 2017 @ 3:18pm
            HarryT said | November 28th 2017 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

            50% win rate from a pool of Super Rugby players who won 28% of their games. Impressive…almost doubled the win rate. But facts are cruel to some.

            • November 28th 2017 @ 4:02pm
              JP said | November 28th 2017 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

              You blaming all those Waratahs players he picks then?? ?? .You just blew up your feeble argument HarryT.

            • Roar Guru

              November 28th 2017 @ 4:21pm
              Harry Jones said | November 28th 2017 @ 4:21pm | ! Report

              50% win rate is not acceptable for Australia

              • November 28th 2017 @ 5:21pm
                HarryT said | November 28th 2017 @ 5:21pm | ! Report

                When you consider that the 28% win rate of the Super teams was often against other Australian sides you have to wonder what is acceptable.

                Interestingly, a feeder high school to Cheika’s Randwick Club that has produced a dozen Wallabies, in the last ten years has seen its rugby teams reduced by half, soccer has doubled and there is an AFL team for each age group. Randwick doesn’t have a 5th grade or 3rd grade colts because numbers are down.

                Things aren’t turning around for the better so it will be interesting to see where we are at next year.

        • November 28th 2017 @ 1:34pm
          Crash Ball2 said | November 28th 2017 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

          Publicly. What [some] say publicly. That said, I haven’t heard comments from the ballboy union but will take your word at face value.

          Not so sure Cheika left Leinster to universal acclaim and the Waratahs final season with Cheik wasn’t crash hot. Hardly likely Australian players that have been marginalised are going to speak out about the coach if they have any aspirations of playing test rugby again under Cheika’s regime. And what is the point of kicking up a fuss for those leaving these shores disillusioned? Those safely within the bosom of the invisible unaccountability bubble certainly aren’t going to complain. And then even some in the inner sanctum like McMahon, tired of his pecking order position (regardless of who he outplays), constantly battered in a role he isn’t physiologically built for and unable to hone the skills within his chosen openside jersey, still flee the regime.

          Cheika appears to be a talented, motivational, short term change agent with a set formula and some key values he cookie cutters at each new team. Mid-long term strategic evolution, team development and management collaboration don’t appear to come so easily. Trench warfare is his default to any hint of criticism.

          Cheika’s glass ceiling arrived a while ago. We can all see blue sky and feel the sun’s warmth, but there’s no breeze through anyone’s hair and it freakin’ stinks in here.

          • November 28th 2017 @ 3:20pm
            HarryT said | November 28th 2017 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

            Cheika has been in charge since 2014, moved on some big names, yet you can’t give me one quote indicating dissent?

            • November 28th 2017 @ 3:53pm
              Crash Ball2 said | November 28th 2017 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

              Yep, happens all the time doesn’t it? A professional rugby player is overlooked for a lesser performed player and subsequently decides the best thing for his career and reputation is to go on public record to slag the coach. Right HT.

              • November 28th 2017 @ 4:34pm
                HarryT said | November 28th 2017 @ 4:34pm | ! Report

                Does happen CB.

                “That’s why I feel so strongly as a player. I don’t want to be involved in the toxic environment, and that’s how it is at the moment. QC under Deans.

                “The saddest thing is that some players think drinking a few beers is worse for the culture than texting s*** behind their team-mates’ backs,” Mitchell posted. Mitchell under McKenzie.

              • November 28th 2017 @ 4:58pm
                Crash Ball2 said | November 28th 2017 @ 4:58pm | ! Report

                Yep – and look how that turned out for QC and Mitchell under coaches far less parochial than Cheika. Incumbent Wallabies: not publicly complaining. Wallabies hoping to re-gain a jersey at some point: not publicly complaining. Overseas Wallabies: what benefit to them? You suggestion that everyone Cheika has ever worked with from chairmen to ballboys across Leinster, Waratah, Wallabies and prior foray in fashion drinks the Cheika KoolAid because no one has publicly said otherwise in the media is frankly preposterous.

        • Roar Guru

          November 28th 2017 @ 4:16pm
          Harry Jones said | November 28th 2017 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

          It’s just a possibility. Usually an outsized persona rubs a few guys the wrong way but they only speak up after the head man leaves

          • November 28th 2017 @ 5:40pm
            HarryT said | November 28th 2017 @ 5:40pm | ! Report

            He talks the talk of some one who has excellent cross generation management skills.

            • Roar Guru

              November 28th 2017 @ 7:15pm
              Harry Jones said | November 28th 2017 @ 7:15pm | ! Report

              Not sure

              We’ll see, soon

      • November 28th 2017 @ 11:51am
        ethan said | November 28th 2017 @ 11:51am | ! Report

        Yes Cheika has substituted his big abrasive packs for smaller lightweights. Very confusing really, given the results. Some might argue we don’t have the cattle for that (No Potegeiter, Palu, Dennis, Skelton), but we perhaps got as close as possible last year with Coleman, Arnold and Timani and it seemed to be working quite nicely – so its rather odd he has gone away from it again. Given up trying to guess at what goes through his mind!

        • November 28th 2017 @ 3:02pm
          Cliff (Bishkek) said | November 28th 2017 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

          Last Statement – Nothing of Value!!

      • November 28th 2017 @ 1:20pm
        Crash Ball2 said | November 28th 2017 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

        Nicely put Harry.

    • November 28th 2017 @ 7:14am
      Jigbon said | November 28th 2017 @ 7:14am | ! Report

      Brett my concern is how other teams like Scotland or even England , can so rapdly develop from also rans into great teams. Cheika has had what , three , maybe four years now to get this team functioning like those teams who have thumped us this year. Scotland showed playing skills and strategies they didn’t show two years ago and they don’t have a mick Byrne etc. So why them and not us. Why can they pass properly , tackle well ,defend well , maul well, attack well , kick well , outhink well ……What are they doing that drives such rapid improvement? Or what aren’t we doing. ? . England turned around in almost months = coach ? . We certainly have the skilled and talented players so what’s wrong with this picture. ?
      It has to come back to coaching. All other things being equal and all those teams behind the eight ball at some stage over the last couple of years. …but we are still behind that damn ball !

      • Roar Guru

        November 28th 2017 @ 9:35am
        PeterK said | November 28th 2017 @ 9:35am | ! Report

        agree with most except that the Scots pass properly.

        The scots do not pass in front of the man , also their forwards lack passing skills. Their backs had more tunrovers than the wallabies.

        Byrne is the only area showing continuing success for the wallabies.

        The difference is the wallabies play dumb rugby, the players lack rugby nous.

        Scots adapted and play to their strengths , target weaknesses, and have a better all round game.

        • November 28th 2017 @ 10:41am
          arthur rightus said | November 28th 2017 @ 10:41am | ! Report

          “Byrne is the only area showing continuing success for the Wallabies”

          Peter, what possible justification do you have for this claim?

          Our kicking both for goal and by hand has not improved and I would suggest Foley’s goalkicking has gone backwards. Our handling/passing has not improved, we are dropping more ball than ever. Our tackling has not improved, another 30 odd missed on the weekend. Kicking, passing, tackling, the 3 basic skills of the game have not shown the slightest improvement since Byrne has come on board yet he remains immune to any of the criticism Cheika and Grey cop. And please spare me the it took him 7 years to upskill the All Blacks garbage.

          • Roar Guru

            November 28th 2017 @ 10:52am
            Hoy said | November 28th 2017 @ 10:52am | ! Report

            I will say our ability to recognise chances has improved… just our ability to take those chances and convert them is still a touch off.

            I would say Wales is where we were maybe 12 – 18 months ago. Really wanting to have a crack but not having the skill to pull it off. SO much dropped ball from them against us, but willing to go for everything. A bit like a headless chook though. It needs to be channelled.

            Our ability to “go” when it is on have improved this year, and I think our skills have improved this year, but there is long way to go though to be good at it.

          • Roar Guru

            November 28th 2017 @ 11:22am
            PeterK said | November 28th 2017 @ 11:22am | ! Report

            The passing HAS improved under Byrne.

            Now more often than not it is front of the player. Additionally the forwards pass in traffic, drawing and passing which they never do. If you look at stats the ratio of dropped ball to passes has actually dropped. It so happened they passed the ball a lot less before.

            Foley , from a low base, has improved his general play kicking. Remember his highball kicks to folau out wide. His grubber for TK for a try against Scotland was very good.

            Byrnes has nothing to do with goalkicking or tackling.

            • November 28th 2017 @ 1:00pm
              arthur rightus said | November 28th 2017 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

              Debatable that the passing HAS improved, however I will grant the forwards do look to pass in traffic more often than they used to. Nonetheless if that is the net sum of Byrne’s contribution to our skills in his time there I’d suggest it is a very low return on investment. And honestly, if Foley wasn’t able to perform a cross kick or a grubber kick before Byrne came along he had no place in 1st grade club rugby let alone international level.

              • November 28th 2017 @ 2:47pm
                ethan said | November 28th 2017 @ 2:47pm | ! Report

                I’m with Pete here. The passing of forwards has improved a large amount, while the passing of backs (minus Phipps) has also shown improvement, being out in front more. The ratio of passes to drops is telling.

                Byrne made improvements to the lineout a season or two ago and it has mostly been much better since. Running lines of players have also improved, which we must assume is related to his work, as it happened after Larkham was already there. Some of these things have been highlighted in Nick Bishop’s articles.

                You also have to consider that many mistakes made are not due to lack of skill, but poor decision making. If you try to play wide expansive rugby under pressure or without go-forward (as we sometimes are prone to do) making mistakes is far more likely. If you choose to offload at the wrong time, it is far more likely to go to ground then if chosen at the right time. Many of our mistakes are decision making based, as opposed to skills based, and I think we’ve all commented at some point through the year that the WBs don’t often play smart. This to me is the area we must improve in the future – playing smart. Tactically. If we do this, the skills will appear better for it.

              • November 28th 2017 @ 5:33pm
                enoughisenough said | November 28th 2017 @ 5:33pm | ! Report

                The cross field kick that Cooper made during the Barbarians game was far superior to anything that Foley has ever produced.

            • November 28th 2017 @ 3:33pm
              CJ said | November 28th 2017 @ 3:33pm | ! Report

              Those high balls to Folau are not usually hitting the sweet spot like Thurston used to manage

            • November 28th 2017 @ 4:10pm
              Marto said | November 28th 2017 @ 4:10pm | ! Report

              Former AFL ruckman Byrne has never passed a ball in his life.. He`s handballed and tapped a fair bit of football though…

              ” The Passing HAS improved the under Byrne.” Get outta here !!!! ..haha

              I like your contributions at times PeterK,, but that is Redicoularzzzzz..

              • November 28th 2017 @ 7:35pm
                MitchO said | November 28th 2017 @ 7:35pm | ! Report

                Hi Marto,

                Mick Byrne is from a place called Sydney. He played rugby when younger as well as footy. Just because he wasn’t a world beater at either doesn’t mean he can’t coach.

                But the best advert for his value is that the best team in historically the world’s greatest rugby nation kept him around for so many years. I refuse to believe that they kept Mick on board without believing he was adding value to their team.

        • November 28th 2017 @ 1:34pm
          mz.ilikazi said | November 28th 2017 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

          “The difference is the wallabies play dumb rugby, the players lack rugby nous.”

          That hits the nail on the head. And sadly, a lot of that goes back to the training paddock.

          If the high kick and follow up is not practiced, one wonders what other areas of the game are neglected. Possibly don’t really work on aggression and speed at the breakdown either……certainly looked that way against Scotland….players happy to stand lamely on the hind foot defensive line and wait for the next drive as Scotland got easy ball to run amok with.

    • November 28th 2017 @ 7:24am
      Highlander said | November 28th 2017 @ 7:24am | ! Report

      Nice hard hitting piece Brett although annus horriblis is probably a bit tough, esp when compared to 2016.

      For those cynically calling Bled 3 a false dawn that may be a reflection of an AB side that had 8 players with less than 15 caps, will be an awful long time before you get to play against a lineup like that again.

      But in terms of style, personnel, and model I am not sure Coach Cheika is really any clearer than at the start of the year.

      • November 28th 2017 @ 9:03am
        moaman said | November 28th 2017 @ 9:03am | ! Report

        “Coach Cheika ” needs new windscreen wipers.

      • Columnist

        November 28th 2017 @ 1:55pm
        Brett McKay said | November 28th 2017 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

        I was talking about the game in general Highlander, not just the Wallabies. And overall, it hasn’t been a great year…

        • November 28th 2017 @ 2:19pm
          Highlander said | November 28th 2017 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

          oops……and yeah concur

      • November 28th 2017 @ 3:08pm
        Cliff (Bishkek) said | November 28th 2017 @ 3:08pm | ! Report

        Highlander – I do not think Cheika is any further advanced than he was after the 2015 RWC Final!! Ground Hog Day that is Australian Rugby!!

    • Roar Guru

      November 28th 2017 @ 7:52am
      Sam Taulelei said | November 28th 2017 @ 7:52am | ! Report

      Thanks for the article Brett.

      The most striking difference between Scotland and Australia for me this year is the performance in their first test against New Zealand this year.

      Scotland aren’t always winning their way to popularity but their performances this year definitely shows improvement earning admiration and respect.

      Their halves combination of Finn Russell and Ali Price neatly represents the intent and spirit of how they want to play – without fear, with skill, speed and guile. Similar qualities that abounded in past Wallaby sides when they would often have to live on scraps of possession.

      One hopes that the coaching summit recently held with the great minds of Australian rugby will bear benefits for next season because the inconsistency of the national team reflects the poor effort overall from all of the Super teams.

      You can’t build a mansion on a foundation of sand and expect it to remain standing.

      • Columnist

        November 28th 2017 @ 2:03pm
        Brett McKay said | November 28th 2017 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

        Yeah, I’ve just made that same point above Sam. It’s crucial that coaching and S&C, and all those related elements become aligned…

        • November 28th 2017 @ 3:11pm
          Cliff (Bishkek) said | November 28th 2017 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

          Brett – the S&C – what does this refer to? Seems I am missing something in the past? Cheers

          • Roar Guru

            November 28th 2017 @ 3:15pm
            John R said | November 28th 2017 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

            Strength and Conditioning = S&C Cliffo.

          • Columnist

            November 28th 2017 @ 3:27pm
            Brett McKay said | November 28th 2017 @ 3:27pm | ! Report

            Sorry Cliff, wrong of me to run with assumed knowledge – and thanks, John!

            • November 28th 2017 @ 7:00pm
              Cliff (Bishkek) said | November 28th 2017 @ 7:00pm | ! Report

              Thanks John & Brett — I was thinking along the lines of admin when you referred to the Coaching – higher level of admin. Did not even think of Strength & Conditioning!! Cheers.

              • Roar Guru

                November 29th 2017 @ 7:59am
                John R said | November 29th 2017 @ 7:59am | ! Report

                From what I’ve read, all the team analysts are knocking heads together, so there’s some white collar collaboration going on too.

                I think it’d be great if the commercial departments combined forces. It’s not like they’re competing with each other for memberships, so why not??

    • November 28th 2017 @ 7:53am
      Jimmy james said | November 28th 2017 @ 7:53am | ! Report

      The Scots were inspired. I suspect they really wanted that win. They could smell blood in the water and wanted to prove that the June Test was not an accident.

      I wonder if 2018 is going to be any better. Cheika is going to have figure out his best team pretty quickly with the Ireland series. Something that usually takes him a few tests.

      • November 28th 2017 @ 7:44pm
        MitchO said | November 28th 2017 @ 7:44pm | ! Report

        JJ, we know that Australia’s best team has Coleman and Folau in it. Enever and Tui are no better than okay at this stage of their careers. They aren’t better than the Scot’s locks and Simmons is not going to impose himself on anyone.

        I was hoping for KB to perform at 15 so we could get Kerevi to 12 and Folau on a wing. But against England and Scotland, KB proved he was not safe under the high ball. Assuming that Foley stays at 10 it means we do need KB at 12 (front on defence less of a liability than his high ball security) and Folau at 15.

        Not only was starting Moore silly he was left out there for far too long. We were always going to get more drive from TPN so he should have played at least a half. Really Moore should not have toured. It was always going to be more important to give Uelese game time. Moore was never going to make it to 2019. TPN might. I hope he does. But the number 2 hooker needs to be getting experience against Wales, England and Scotland now. A testamonial end of season tour for Moore was unprofessional.

        • November 30th 2017 @ 3:25am
          ThugbyFan said | November 30th 2017 @ 3:25am | ! Report

          MO, you are spot on with S.Moore. I thought he was either refusing to admit that his game had gone downhill so badly or he was selfish. For years we were earbashed that at least Moore could throw lineouts better than TPN, and guess who got pinged for a wild throw in the Scotland game?

          I thought Scotland played like terriers, tackling anything that moved and being a right pain in the rucks. Yes they played a fast brand of footy quite brilliantly and deserved the win against what looked a dispirited WB side. Whoever came up with the WB tactic of not competing in the defensive breakdowns deserves the Darwin Dill of the Year award. Talk about wave the white flag!

          That being said, the French referee allowed the Scots to lie all over the back of the rucks and he was extremely lenient with their flankers/inside backs being offside a number of times. But that’s French refs all over, uniquely blaise and it’s not like the WB were unaware of his quirks.

          As an aside, I watched a replay of the 1st Bledisloe match from Sydney. About the 34th minute, referee Barnes penalises M.Hooper for offside near the WB line after Hooper rushed out and forced an error from an AB. The AB scored a try soon after. What got me rolling on the floor laughing was as the teams trudged back for the kick-off, you could clearly hear Barnes apologise to Hooper for the wrong call. At least he was brave enough to admit his error. A minute later, he gave a pretty harsh penalty against the AB and I wondered if that was a “get square” to appease Hooper. 🙂

        • December 1st 2017 @ 11:03am
          JP said | December 1st 2017 @ 11:03am | ! Report


    , , ,