Waratahs find a kicking game to contest the Australian conference

Nicholas Bishop Columnist

By Nicholas Bishop, Nicholas Bishop is a Roar Expert

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    First, to England. Let there be no doubt about Eddie Jones’ desperation to halt Ireland’s progress towards a Grand Slam on the last weekend of the Six Nations. That desperation bled, sometimes unpleasantly, through all of the English preparation in the week building up to the game.

    They called in one of the match officials, assistant Marius van der Westhuizen, to advise them on the way the breakdown would be policed. This is clearly against World Rugby rules, and van der Westhuizen had to be recused from duty, to be replaced by England’s bête noir from Murrayfield, Nigel Owens. Bad move.

    Jones then asked for the in-goal areas at Twickenham to be extended by three metres, presumably to increase the target area for the England kicking game. Two metres were added.

    As they were for almost all of the game, Ireland were one step ahead of Jones – quite literally. When left wing Jacob Stockdale scored in time added-on at the end of the first half, he was only able to ground the ball successfully after a chip ahead because of the new, deeper scoring zone:

    The red arrows represent the old markings, the blue line the new extension. The cunning English plan was turned against them. Bad move.

    All of this came on top of a week where (by accident or design) a video of a talk given by Jones at a business conference in Japan had been released, in which Jones talked loosely of Wales as “this s**t little place” and the necessity of getting one back on the “scummy Irish” for last season’s defeat in Dublin.

    After events of this week, Jones’ chances of coaching the 2021 British and Irish Lions have probably diminished. The scum, it would appear, also rises – like good Irish cream to the very top of the game in Europe.

    As I pointed out in this article a few weeks ago, England’s success under Jones – especially in wet weather – is based squarely on their kicking game. When they come up against a team who kick and receive as well as they do, they tend to struggle.

    Against the Wallabies, England have had it relatively easy on this front in the Jones era. They have won five games in a row and they have kicked a massive 44 more times more than Australia, an average of nine times more per game.

    Ireland are a different kettle of fish, who can probably now consider themselves the masters of the airwaves in the Northern Hemisphere. Since the November series in 2017, Ireland have won all of eight of their matches and kicked more than their opponents in all bar one – the one game they were on the cusp of losing, to France in Paris, in the first round of this year’s championship. Coincidence? Probably not.

    Michael Cheika’s preference to keep ball in hand and leave the kicking game in the locker is well-advertised, and dates back to the Super Rugby success he enjoyed with the 2014 Waratahs.

    The Tahs’ conclusive 51-27 victory over the Rebels at Sydney Football Stadium last weekend suggested that Cheika’s spell is finally being broken in New South Wales, and Daryl Gibson is now making the team his own.

    The Waratahs kicked 32 times in the game as a whole, 14 times more than their opponents, and the kicking game was the foundation of their spectacular comeback from a 20-3 deficit near the end of the first half.

    Questions had been raised pre-game about the shift of Israel Folau to the right wing for the match, but Gibson had a plan which the Tahs put into action with a vengeance from the 38th minute onwards. Instead of trying to run through Melbourne’s brick wall defence, they went over the top of it first.

    One of the first hints of the plan came at the kick-off following the Rebels’ second try of the match:

    Bernard Foley chips the ball out to the right, where Folau collects it above Melbourne second row Matt Phillip. This position gave the Tahs the platform they needed to score their first, somewhat fortuitous try of the game (1:26 on the reel):

    After Rebels’ fullback Dane Haylett-Petty left the game injured in the 13th minute, Foley and Kurtley Beale launched a steady bombardment down the left side of the Melbourne backfield, usually defended by young wing Jack Maddocks. There was a succession of high kicks that were either won back directly by Folau, or the ball was turned over at the first ruck after receipt:

    One common misconception about the kicking game is that it’s purely negative. A kick is often seen as the product of a team who have run out of ideas about what to do with the ball in hand. In fact, nothing is further from the truth. The idea behind the high kicks for Folau is to enable an attack on a far more disorganised version of the Melbourne defence (reel at 1:35-1:50).

    After Folau regathers at 1:35 on the reel, it is effectively an attack with turnover ball. After two long passes into midfield, Bryce Hegarty has two backs outside him (Foley and Curtis Rona), with Jed Holloway standing in the far tram-lines.

    They are faced by all three Rebels back-rowers, with hooker Anaru Rangi and prop Tetera Faulkner underneath them. Jack Debreczeni is the only back in attendance. Suddenly, a promising scenario for the attacking side has been created:

    Hegarty picks out Rangi and Foley sees the visionary short support line early to create a try for Rob Simmons. The process was repeated in a slightly different form about five minutes later:

    The high kick is slightly too far ahead of Folau for him to contest it directly, so he does the next best thing. He puts Reece Hodge on the deck quickly with the follow-up tackle and Michael Hooper, Tom Staniforth and Damian Fitzpatrick descend on the ruck like an angry cloud of sky-blue hornets.

    When the ball is turned over, there is an even better situation for the Waratahs brewing on the far side of the field (reel at 2:00-2:12), where Foley, Rona and Hegarty are running against Adam Coleman and Amanaki Mafi:

    On the next occasion that Folau was able to win the ball over Maddocks in the air, the Waratahs went straight to the opposite side of the field with a cross-kick from Beale to replacement outside back Taqele Naiyaravoro:

    The next phase is shown on the reel at 2:38-2:54. Again the scenario favours the Tahs far more then it would have done if they had simply kept ball in hand. Naiyaravoro is able to get the ball away in the tackle with Rona and Holloway (two natural ball-handlers in wide-open spaces) in support, and Billy Meakes and Richard Hardwick struggling to get across to plug the leak on the far side-line in defence.

    One cautionary note should be sounded about the pros and cons of the high kicking game. The high kick represents turnover ball for both sides – get it wrong and the opposition can return the ball with interest against your own disorganised defence.

    Foley launches the kick fatally too far ahead of Folau and Maddocks is able to catch the ball and pick his way through the Waratahs’ kick-chase on the return.

    Summary
    Gibson may finally have stepped out of the shadow of Cheika’s 2014 Super Rugby-winning Waratahs by implementing a plan so antipathetic to Cheika’s thinking about the game.

    The Tahs kicked the ball, and then they kicked it some more. With the world’s best aerial athlete, Israel Folau, chasing in off the right wing and Dane Haylett-Petty off the field for Melbourne, they had an excellent chance to turn the ball over, either in the air or at the ensuing ruck. Instead of trying to run through a brick wall, NSW went over the top of it first, and only then shifted the ball wide.

    Will Michael Cheika finally accept the importance of the kicking game consistently in his game-planning? Will he see the importance of matching Ireland in that area in order to come away from the June series with a win? Will he consider moving Folau to the wing (maybe with Haylett-Petty returning to fullback) to emulate the Waratahs’ success with the tactic at international level?

    These are all big questions which the Australian coaching panel will soon have to answer.

    Nicholas Bishop
    Nicholas Bishop

    Nick Bishop has worked as a rugby analyst and advisor to Graham Henry (1999-2003), Mike Ruddock (2004-2005) and most recently Stuart Lancaster (2011-2015). He also worked on the 2001 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia and produced his first rugby book with Graham Henry at the end of the tour. Three more rugby books have followed, all of which of have either been nominated for or won national sports book awards. Nick?s latest is a biography of Phil Larder, the first top Rugby League coach to successfully transfer over to Union, entitled ?The Iron Curtain?. He is currently writing articles for The Roar and The Rugby Site, and working as a strategy consultant to Stuart Lancaster and the Leinster coaching staff for their European matches.

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    The Crowd Says (355)

    • March 21st 2018 @ 4:30am
      Carlos The Argie said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:30am | ! Report

      Thank you again, Nick. It never gets boring saying thanks for these articles. Even the one in the dark web about TJ’s smarts in the rucks.

      I don’t see how different Eddie’s antics are from the Romanian’s last weekend. Except that it backfired. He seems increasingly desperate and his cycle seems to have moved faster than usual. Oh, I wish he also destroyed England’s scrum the way he did to the poor Wallabies! But not developing new players may be sufficient… Dishonesty and desperation are very close cousins.

      Our old coach would always ask us why we kicked where and when we kicked. He wanted to make sure we knew what we were doing. It is clear that Gibson had a plan and took advantage of Folau’s mastery of the air. Well, he had a RAF pilot kicking to him. Gibson’s approach is not that different to what many Kiwi sides do, kick with a plan.

      But, to be sure, I don’t think this works every time. It may have worked with the Rebels and it may also work with the Reds type of defense. We shall see. It is good to see variation.

      • Columnist

        March 21st 2018 @ 4:37am
        Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:37am | ! Report

        ‘Dark web’ – very good Carlos, I like it! 😀

        Kyle Sinckler’s selection is a pretty good step towards dismantling the England scrum IMO – let’s see if he gets the nod in South Africa this summer on those hard grounds 🙂

        Yes, I think the main advantages for NSW from the Rebels games is that it (1) marks a departure from Cheika’s approach with the Tahs, and (2) it adds another string to the tactical bow, so that opponents will not be as confident about what to expect from them.

    • Roar Rookie

      March 21st 2018 @ 4:51am
      Blessing said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:51am | ! Report

      The thing with Eddie Jones is that he tries too hard to appear clever. The goal line thing was amusing. The Stockdale try was poetic justice. There’s always some kind of stunt or gimmick, usually accompanied by a blaze of publicity. Being innovative itself is not a bad thing, keep it to yourself and make sure your team produces the best rugby they can on match day. There’s the scrum training session with the Georgians, the heated trousers. I’m sure other teams innovate, they just keep it to themselves and focus on winning games. Curiously, for all the set piece training sessions with the Welsh and Georgians, England’s set piece was nothing to write home about.

      I enjoyed your analysis of the kicking game, I always have enjoyed the way you break down tactical kicking Nick. With regards to Cheika’s aversion to the kicking game, is it because he can’t coach it or does not like it? I like Gregor Townsend’s work with Scotland. Problem is that you need to be very accurate and minimise mistakes when you play that kind of game. Both sides of that argument were on display in the Six Nations, brilliant when it comes off and they looked naive when it didn’t.

      • Columnist

        March 21st 2018 @ 5:14am
        Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 5:14am | ! Report

        The thing with Eddie Jones is that he tries too hard to appear clever. The goal line thing was amusing. The Stockdale try was poetic justice. There’s always some kind of stunt or gimmick, usually accompanied by a blaze of publicity.

        Ofc, after Dave Brailsford’s success with Team Sky in cycling, the whole theory of 1% ‘marginal gains’ became very popular, but it’s very easy to be deceived into making tweaks that are ultimately irrelevant, and neglect improvement of the fundamentals (like catching and passing). I don’t see England’s scrum improving and I don’t see their catching and passing doing so either.

        In answer to your Q about Cheika, I think he simply doesn’t like the idea of kicking the ball away – after all Mick Byrne and Steve Larkham should be capable of coaching it!

        • Roar Rookie

          March 21st 2018 @ 6:27am
          Blessing said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:27am | ! Report

          Interesting point about Mick Byrne. When he was part of the AB coaching team, he was referred to as Mick the Kick. Strange to have that kind of expertise and not utilise it. Negligent even. I hear you about the marginal gains thing. After the recent Parliamentary Committee hearing, I think the whole thing has been exposed. The catching and passing, why leave your one true outstanding catch and pass forward in Launchbury on the bench? With regards to the scrum, Dan Cole and Hartley should have been replaced by now. At most, he should create a Kevy Mealamu situation whereby Hartley comes in to steady things and add experience. Looking at George and Hartley, I think Eddie has had it the other way round. Imagine the ABs a year from the 2015 WC with Mealamu starting and Dane Coles coming on from the pine.

          • Columnist

            March 21st 2018 @ 6:39am
            Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:39am | ! Report

            Yes, I didn’t agree with the decision to drop Launchbury, and I’d guess it came from the Sarries’ faction in the coaching group – but Kruis isn’t half the forward Launch is. I can’t see an obvious replacement for Dan Cole at TH though – neither Sinckler nor Harry William are totally convincing options…

            Let’s see if the Tahs continue with the kicking emphasis, and ramp up the pressure on their old coach further to adapt his gameplan!

            • March 21st 2018 @ 7:43am
              John said | March 21st 2018 @ 7:43am | ! Report

              If you’re right and a Saracens faction within the coaching group weakened the squad, doesn’t that strengthen the case for Glenn Ella as attacks coach?

              • Columnist

                March 21st 2018 @ 8:15am
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 8:15am | ! Report

                Well Eddie knows all the Sarries guys from his stint with them, so he must trust their judgement (even if it doesn’t look the same from the outside).

            • Roar Guru

              March 21st 2018 @ 2:22pm
              Harry Jones said | March 21st 2018 @ 2:22pm | ! Report

              Launchbury is really the best tight forward in England, IMO.

            • March 21st 2018 @ 8:11pm
              FunBus said | March 21st 2018 @ 8:11pm | ! Report

              Not sure Cole is totally done yet, NB. Like many England players his workload is ridiculous. He always starts for Leicester and often goes 75 mins or even the whole game. He needs to be left at home in the Summer. If he doesn’t come back ripping up trees then get rid.

              For me there are two sets of explanations for England’s disastrous 6 Nations. The first group are specific to the 2018 tournament – the second group more systematic.

              First, England haven’t won a 6 Nations the year after a Lions series since 1982, I think. You simply cant get away any more with not giving your top players rest and a pre-season and then sticking them virtually straight into increasingly physical club rugby. There’s also continuous reports of the ‘beastings’ Jones puts the players through. I reckon the combination has made many players out on their feet – mentally as much as physically. They have also had unfortunate and unfortunately timed injuries. These two things alone probably stopped them getting over the line against Scotland and France, despite all the other problems.

              For me the main systematic things are the penalties and the breakdown. It doesn’t seem to matter whether they’re on top; in a tight game; or under the cosh, they can’t keep the penalties in single figures. And it’s not like Ireland, who gave calculated penalties away on their own line. The classic one was Farrell hitting Sexton late. The situation moved with the score 0-0, via the penalty, from Daly running back the sliced kick from halfway, to Watson dropping the ball on his own line. Can’t do it against sides like Ireland. Obviously, Jones can’t coach it out of them or he would have done by now so some heads must roll for this alone.
              The breakdown is either a source of penalties, as against Scotland, or the ball is too slow, negating the backs as against Ireland.

              Still, I’m less certain than many here that ‘that’s it’ for England’s chances in Japan. Can’t see much changing for the Boks, and he must take the opportunity to rest some key players and try some youngsters in key positions (Simmonds at ‘7’ for example). But, I’ve got a feeling they might be a different side by the Autumn.

              • Columnist

                March 21st 2018 @ 8:30pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 8:30pm | ! Report

                Hi FB.

                Yes I agree (as I’ve said elsewhere) that England will be a different beast for next Autumn. The problem is that the entire landscape may have changed by then!

                They have SA-NZ-Japan-Australia after a three Test series in SA in June. Assuming that some of the Lions (like Dan Cole) get a well-deserved rest for that trip, it could easily be a series that England lose, which will leave them with more questions than answers for November.

                Eddie doesn’t do himself any favours by attacking every problem with manic intensity does he? It’s why so many of his backroom leave…

                But time is running out to solve some of the more pressing selection issues, like B/R, midfield and backup to Cole. The solutions were more evident in 2016 than they are now.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 8:34pm
                MitchO said | March 21st 2018 @ 8:34pm | ! Report

                Surely England have a couple of tight head props? They must do. They don’t typically have a good openside but can’t they just fake it again but playing Robshaw at 7?

                Can’t they go Ford and Farrell at 10 and 12?

              • Columnist

                March 21st 2018 @ 8:38pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 8:38pm | ! Report

                The next two behind Cole are Harry Williams and Sinckler, and both have some holes in their game so could not be considered the finished article.

                I think Chris Robshaw is likely to be once again England’s 7 at the next WC…

              • March 21st 2018 @ 9:42pm
                cuw said | March 21st 2018 @ 9:42pm | ! Report

                @ Nicholas Bishop

                Eddie Jones is a funny creature – though he publicly says certain things about sertain players , he tends to do opposite in practice.

                for eg. he called Robshaw a 6.5 (and not an international 7 ) , but has used him as a 7.

                simillarly he has said he sees SYmonds as a 7 but used him at 8.

                availability of Sam Underhill is key to Eddie’s plans…

              • Columnist

                March 21st 2018 @ 10:40pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 10:40pm | ! Report

                Both Simmonds and Underhill (and Tom Curry) have some promise, but none is Test quality as yet CUW. I think Eddie will have to pick one to develop for the WC…

        • March 21st 2018 @ 1:53pm
          Akari said | March 21st 2018 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

          I don’t see their catching and passing doing so either

          The Bulls were sort of able to do so over night and a revelation, Nick. England should maybe give John Mitchell an offer that he can’t refuse to assist young Eddie on that front.

          • Columnist

            March 21st 2018 @ 4:44pm
            Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:44pm | ! Report

            I think the Bulls have a ways to go yet Ak – though there’s every sign of them being able to tread the same path as the Lions under John Mitchell in the long term (esp dressed as Brazil!)…

          • March 21st 2018 @ 9:44pm
            cuw said | March 21st 2018 @ 9:44pm | ! Report

            @ Akari

            if am not mistaken , these same Bulls ( perhaps most of them ) have been playing under JM in currie cup for a while .

            so it is not as if they have been reborn overnight with super powers…

            • March 22nd 2018 @ 11:33am
              Akari said | March 22nd 2018 @ 11:33am | ! Report

              I know very little about the Blue Bulls team in the 2017 Currie Cup comp, cuw, and how they played then. All I know is that they didn’t do as well. While commendable that they scored the most points, they only made 15 more than against and scored one more try.

              Also, JM only took over as the BB coach on about 20 August 2017, ie a month after the Currie Cup had kicked off on 21 July 2017. The BBs season ended on 21 October 2017, ie 2 months later, when they lost the semi-final to the Sharks (27-37). In addition, the final Bulls squad wasn’t announced until about mid-November 2017 with the pre-season training commencing around the 1st week of December I assume. In any case, a number (don’t know the exact number) of new players will have joined the Bulls squad by then.

              So, I am comfortable in sticking with, The Bulls were sort of able to do so over night and a revelation. Young Eddie has a 2 months head start to work on the catching and passing skills of the bulk of his core players before the June tests and even more time before the SH pay him a visit in November.

    • Roar Guru

      March 21st 2018 @ 5:00am
      The Neutral View From Sweden said | March 21st 2018 @ 5:00am | ! Report

      Great stuff as always NB.

      To see that Tahs make full use of Folau’s aerial skills on the wing was beautiful and it was long overdue. It is almost impossible to defend against unless you are prepared to give up a lot of your “regular” defensive structures. If Chieka continues to not use this weapon – especially against Ireland – I might join the Chieka Out Brigade, hence it would be a grave misconduct.

      I would love to see Folau on the same team as Murray and Sexton, for Folau to be able to attack quality kicks over and over again could be very special. Sexton’s kick for Irelands first try on Twickenham was just ridiculous. How many seconds was that ball in the air? And it “lands” almost exactly on the try line.

      An interesting little detail from the 6N is the three top teams all get their players (or the majority of them) from Pro14. That central contracting is the difference after a Lions-tour should be pretty clear to everyone by now.

      P.S. But is Folau really the greatest aerial athlete around? I can think about a couple of NBA-players that could challenge Folau hard for that title.

      • Columnist

        March 21st 2018 @ 5:20am
        Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 5:20am | ! Report

        Cheers NV.

        Yes, the old Garryowen tactic was a very simple one, but eminently sensible given Anthony Watson’s inexperience as a Test full-back…. and it got its reward.

        And yes, I do feel that central contracting will be a major issue to emerge from this year’s 6N. England don’t have it and have little control over the amount of time their Lions played after coming back from NZ. We all know the minutes comparison between Sexton and Farrell now, and I think Itoje was back in action right from the start of the season too!?

        I meant ‘best aerial athlete’ in Union btw 🙂

        • Roar Guru

          March 21st 2018 @ 5:40am
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | March 21st 2018 @ 5:40am | ! Report

          Itoje, Nowell, Lawes, Sinkler, Te’o and Watson were the ones who had the shortest breaks – 55 days between the third Test and the first round of the Aviva Premiership (and it is not fair to call it break, they were back in pre-season training and playing warmup games just a couple of weeks after the Lions tour. Has not all them been injured this season also?

          As a comparison, all the Irish Lions who was involved in the third Test had 83-84 days, and the Welsh boys had about 70 days. Me knowingly has not one of the Irish starting Lions been neither injured or fatigued this season. Coincidence? Probably not.

          If your boys, Munster and Scarlets do the business in ten days this debate will go into overdrive and Pro14 can claim bragging rights to be the best league in Europe.

          Here is a link to pretty good rugby blog where this is – and a lot of other stuff – discussed:

          https://theblitzdefence.wordpress.com/2018/03/18/rest-periods-for-lions-players-between-the-end-of-the-lions-series-and-the-start-of-the-domestic-season/

          • Columnist

            March 21st 2018 @ 5:48am
            Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 5:48am | ! Report

            Thanks for the link NV – very helpful…

            I think the Pro 14 (especially if it can attract more top Springboks into the competition via the two SA sides) will thrive because it has that balance between club and international demands. Apparently Uzair Cassiem is signing for Scarlets too, a big upgrade in foreign imports for the Welsh regions!

            • Roar Guru

              March 21st 2018 @ 6:15am
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:15am | ! Report

              Oh yes, if SARU starts to pack Cheetahs and Kings with a couple of Springboks players (or thereabouts) it would definitely push the league one more step upwards. Problem is still that the Boks Test season is not in harmony with the European season, so that might make SARU think twice about it? We shall see. My guess is that SARU wants more clarity about SANZAAR and SR’s future first before they make any big strategic decisions of that nature.

              One thing is for sure, that Pro14 grows in strength and proves itself to be a top-notch league is being noticed by both administrators and fans in the Republic.

              The dream scenario for Pro14 would be if the league got so strong – both on and off the pitch – that all six SA franchises would play there with all the best SA players in either the SA teams or in any of the other “Pro18” teams.

              • Roar Guru

                March 21st 2018 @ 6:27am
                Harry Jones said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:27am | ! Report

                Can Raymond Rhule and Andries Coetzee go play for the Kings, please?

              • Columnist

                March 21st 2018 @ 6:43am
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:43am | ! Report

                Hard to know how close SARFU is to the idea of abandoning SR completely… but I guess that if some of the better SA talent starts getting diverted to the Kings and Cheetahs, we’ll know which way the tide is moving.

                Arguably the Bulls (with their new John Mitchell engineered approach) might thrive more in the Pro 14 than in SR, which would ofc benefit South African rugby in general.

              • Columnist

                March 21st 2018 @ 6:43am
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:43am | ! Report

                To H ( below)

                That’s a very naughty comment. Anyone would think you’re trying to get rid 🙂

            • Roar Guru

              March 21st 2018 @ 4:35pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:35pm | ! Report

              Here is another blog post by the same guy who takes the matter even deeper.

              https://theblitzdefence.wordpress.com/2018/03/20/ireland-and-england-lions-recovery-and-player-management-helping-ireland-win-the-grand-slam/

              This guy should post his stuff on The Roar, instead of his own blog that very few read (and comment on). He sure does his homework.

        • March 21st 2018 @ 8:47am
          rebel said | March 21st 2018 @ 8:47am | ! Report

          Nick is there a players union in England and if so what do they have to say about workloads. That is another aspect of centralised contracts having to negotiate with the union.

          • Columnist

            March 21st 2018 @ 9:24am
            Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 9:24am | ! Report

            The players association is sadly nowhere near strong enough to make any kind of ‘workers demands’ on the clubs Rebel.

            • March 21st 2018 @ 10:16am
              rebel said | March 21st 2018 @ 10:16am | ! Report

              Thats a shame. Clubs have way too much say by the sounds of it.

            • March 21st 2018 @ 10:26am
              riddler said | March 21st 2018 @ 10:26am | ! Report

              damian hopley runs it.. started in his flat.. he has been there far too long.. coming on 20 odd years now..

              needs some fresh blood..

              • March 21st 2018 @ 10:41am
                rebel said | March 21st 2018 @ 10:41am | ! Report

                Sounds like it Ridds, in the latest agreement with the NRL the players now have an interest in running the game. AFL players union is also strong and gets a great deal for it’s members. RUPA has negotiated measures to look after player welfare with maximum playing time and dedicated stand down periods.
                The players are the product. They should be able to band together to look after themselves.

              • Columnist

                March 21st 2018 @ 4:45pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

                Agreed Riddler.

        • Roar Guru

          March 21st 2018 @ 1:16pm
          Fox said | March 21st 2018 @ 1:16pm | ! Report

          I saw a giant Grizzly standing upright 8- 9 feet tall snatch a huge jumping slippery salmon right out of the air with just one paw – and in the same documentary – a Puma leap 4 metres in the air to take down a bird travelling at 80 miles an hour – slow motion replay was mind boggling how he got the timing so pinpoint !!!

          Man talk about hand eye coordination folks

          The Cougar/Puma is one of the highest jumping animals in world with a leap upward at 5.5 meters or 18 feet – good luck beating that Izzy……

          Now that my friends is aerial skills 😉 Wonder who the coach is huh Nick?

          We really are amateurs when all said an done!

          • Columnist

            March 21st 2018 @ 4:46pm
            Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:46pm | ! Report

            Who was Folau’s coach in the AFL Fox, that’s where he acquired those skills? 😀

            • Roar Guru

              March 21st 2018 @ 6:02pm
              Fox said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:02pm | ! Report

              Not sure but they did a good job

              I guess my point is Nick there are far greater marvels in skill and athleticism all around us if we care to look 😉

              We could say “Now that is what I call natural talent”

              I mean seriously Nick 18 feet in the air is just staggering – how much muscle power must they have in their hind legs and with no gym training 🙂

              • March 22nd 2018 @ 8:00am
                Drongo said | March 22nd 2018 @ 8:00am | ! Report

                That takes the cake Fox. A bear is better than Israel. What, not an All Black? ‘Not sure they did a good job’. Keep them coming mate.

              • Roar Guru

                March 22nd 2018 @ 11:12am
                Fox said | March 22nd 2018 @ 11:12am | ! Report

                Ahhh get the quote right Drongo ” not sure BUT they did good job” small point but the “but’ completely changes the context of the statement !

              • Roar Guru

                March 22nd 2018 @ 11:12am
                Fox said | March 22nd 2018 @ 11:12am | ! Report

                Ahhh get the quote right Drongo ” not sure BUT they did good job” small point but the “but’ completely changes the context of the statement !

            • March 21st 2018 @ 6:12pm
              handles said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:12pm | ! Report

              Nothing to do with his AFL coach Nick. The man was born with the skills.

              • Columnist

                March 21st 2018 @ 6:19pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:19pm | ! Report

                That’s a great clip – thanks H!

            • March 21st 2018 @ 6:32pm
              rebel said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:32pm | ! Report

              Agree Handles, that try he scored in State of Origin where he took a screamer, held on to it with one hand, twisted his body unnaturally to ground the ball was as good as any I have ever seen. He is great in the air.

            • March 21st 2018 @ 11:54pm
              Mzilikazi said | March 21st 2018 @ 11:54pm | ! Report

              I would not say that Folau developed those aerial skills in AFL, Nic….he had them already as a Qld Maroons player. Look at this try…should be the first of the series on the clip. I can clearly remember that try as were watching that game on Trafalgar Station, 153 kms SW of Charters Towers in N. Qld. with our grazier friends and their neighbours…great atmosphere !!

              I would think that these sort of catches attracted the AFL guys into pursueing and eventually signing Folau.

              • March 22nd 2018 @ 12:02am
                Mzilikazi said | March 22nd 2018 @ 12:02am | ! Report

                Not sure what has happened there..may not work. If not the same try is on here.

                And if that does not work, google top State of Origin tries.

              • March 22nd 2018 @ 12:04am
                Mzilikazi said | March 22nd 2018 @ 12:04am | ! Report

                Sorry, Nic, had not scrolled down and seen that someone else has already sent the link.

              • Columnist

                March 22nd 2018 @ 1:25am
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 22nd 2018 @ 1:25am | ! Report

                Yes my bad MZ, I assumed that Folau’s AFL career preceded the NRL when it didn’t!

              • March 22nd 2018 @ 4:31pm
                rebel said | March 22nd 2018 @ 4:31pm | ! Report

                Mzi, Issy had already just signed when he scored that try. It just reinforced the coup. I could just imagine the smile on Demetrou’s face when he saw the vision.

          • March 21st 2018 @ 8:00pm
            double agent said | March 21st 2018 @ 8:00pm | ! Report

            That may well be true Fox Saker but I’ve never seen any of those animals play Rugby.

        • March 21st 2018 @ 11:41pm
          Mzilikazi said | March 21st 2018 @ 11:41pm | ! Report

          “the old Garryowen tactic ” I have not heard the towering kick called that for a long time, Nic. Wonder how many people would know the origins of the name outside Ireland.

          It certainly is a fearsome tactical weapon, and Sexton’s effort was a real classic, along with the great challenge by Rob Kearney.

          Rob’s Gaelic skills from his youth in the Cooley Peninsula in Co Louth came back to help him then.

      • March 21st 2018 @ 11:50am
        MitchO said | March 21st 2018 @ 11:50am | ! Report

        HI NV. Personally I prefer both rugby codes to AFL (Australian Footy) but it is a great game with many amazing athletes. It must be on telly in Thailand sometime.

        Apart from the sheer kilometres the players have to run they catch standing tall alot and jostling which means they need a great deal of core strength. A bit like good basketballers. Those guys can catch and kick.

        The teenagers kick 50 metres off either foot. Yeah the ball is smaller and easier to kick but unfortunately for me many of the best potential 10s in world rugby are playing the wrong “oval’ ball game.

        • March 21st 2018 @ 1:18pm
          Dubaikiwi said | March 21st 2018 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

          Mitcho, i am a union man being ex nzder, but having lived in Perth 10 years my second sport is AFL, so now i am retired inThailand (Jomtien) had to get the watch AFL package.

          • March 21st 2018 @ 1:22pm
            MitchO said | March 21st 2018 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

            I am glad its available but figured you’d need to look for it. On the odd occaision I’ve been Asia it seems to be wall to wall soccer. Much of it low level or crap soccer at that. Those darn AFL guys to take too many of our players.

          • Roar Guru

            March 21st 2018 @ 1:45pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | March 21st 2018 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

            Let me know if you ever are around Chaing Mai DK and let you know if I am around Jomtien. Rugby, chat, and beers on the menu. Deal?

        • Roar Guru

          March 21st 2018 @ 1:35pm
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | March 21st 2018 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

          Mate MitchO, I have watched a lot of AFL. There are lots of Aussie expats in both Phuket, Chiang Mai and Singapore (the three places I have lived at since I moved to Asia seven years ago) and a few years ago pretty much all AFL games used to be on the Australia cable-channel also.

          A tight game of Aussie Rules is a great spectacle and slowly slowly have I started to pick up some of the tactical depth also (which makes it a lot more enjoyable to watch for me). I prefer AFL over NRL every day. League is just too one-dimensional for me

          I almost tempted to go on about me being a die-hard Collingwood-fan to stir things up a little… 😉

          • March 21st 2018 @ 2:14pm
            MitchO said | March 21st 2018 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

            I figured you’d like all contact sports NV.

            • Roar Guru

              March 21st 2018 @ 2:28pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | March 21st 2018 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

              I like to cuddle a lot so I say that is pretty fair statement MitchO.

              • Columnist

                March 21st 2018 @ 4:48pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

                Awww, punch on the pitch, pint off it. A real traditionalist! 🙂

              • Roar Guru

                March 21st 2018 @ 5:49pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | March 21st 2018 @ 5:49pm | ! Report

                There are more than fair few deep friendships that have started with a couple of punches have been thrown. It is kind of weird that when you put your body on the line it creates a kind of intimate feeling toward your opponent. It is not a sexual feeling at all, but there is a strong urge to just be close both mentally and physically, especially when it all is done and dusted.

                And deep inside, I am a real softy. When I rewatch Top Gun, I cry every time when Moose dies…

                “Talk to me Moose”

              • Columnist

                March 21st 2018 @ 5:59pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 5:59pm | ! Report

                And deep inside, I am a real softy. When I rewatch Top Gun, I cry every time when Moose dies…

                “Talk to me Moose”

                Oh stop it NV – right now!

              • March 21st 2018 @ 9:09pm
                stu said | March 21st 2018 @ 9:09pm | ! Report

                You mean Goose? Maybe… Meg Ryan’s hubbie Anthony Edwards…

              • Roar Guru

                March 21st 2018 @ 9:20pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | March 21st 2018 @ 9:20pm | ! Report

                What an epic failure from me. Indeed it is Goose!

              • March 21st 2018 @ 9:22pm
                cuw said | March 21st 2018 @ 9:22pm | ! Report

                Anthony Edwards = Goose Bradshaw

                Tom Cruise = Maverick Mitchell

                Val Kilmer = Ice Kazansky

                Kelly McGillis = Charlie Blckwood

                but am not sure how Meg Ryan fits into this – coz the last i read she was “in a relationship” with John Cougar Melloncamp.

                and i would think Meg Ryan in City of Angels will bring lot more tears than Top Gun ever will 🙂

        • March 21st 2018 @ 8:05pm
          double agent said | March 21st 2018 @ 8:05pm | ! Report

          I think it’s a great shame in Australia that the majority of our finest football playing athletes have competed in two sports that are international non entities. League and AFL. Imagine how good we could have been at Rugby and Soccer.

          • Roar Guru

            March 21st 2018 @ 11:03pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | March 21st 2018 @ 11:03pm | ! Report

            I think a fair few Kiwis are very happy that the Aussies are in love with NRL and AFL… things could have looked very different otherwise. That SA for almost 100 years ignored 80-90 percent of their population when it came to rugby union is also a gamechanger…

            I wonder how good Australia could have been in soccer. Probably really good without being world-beaters on a regular basis.

            I actually managed to win two FIFA WC in a row on the classic computer game Championship Manager 2001/02 back in the day. Happy days!

            • March 21st 2018 @ 11:48pm
              double agent said | March 21st 2018 @ 11:48pm | ! Report

              I agree Neutral. There would’ve been no NZ dominance in Rugby and Australia a serious force in Soccer.

      • March 21st 2018 @ 9:41pm
        Ken Catchpole’s Other Leg said | March 21st 2018 @ 9:41pm | ! Report

        Neutral, Australia has a very good kick passing 10, playing club rugby atm.

        • Columnist

          March 21st 2018 @ 10:38pm
          Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 10:38pm | ! Report

          Steady there Ken 🙂

        • March 21st 2018 @ 11:36pm
          riddler said | March 21st 2018 @ 11:36pm | ! Report

          where ken? i havent seen any..

          • March 22nd 2018 @ 9:12am
            chasmac said | March 22nd 2018 @ 9:12am | ! Report

            Trying to work out what the bottom half of a tackling bag is for!!

    • March 21st 2018 @ 5:24am
      Galatzo said | March 21st 2018 @ 5:24am | ! Report

      Nice to be able to write about a Tahs success, Nicholas. But I’m sure a lot of people on this forum were split about the England/Ireland outcome. Ireland is kind of like the Dallas Cowboys, they’re everybody’s favourite team if you don’t have one of your own. And England is the team you love to beat if you’re not a chariot wheel. Some weeks past, Aussies could point to the success of Eddie’s stewardship, but now we’re scuffing our feet in the carpet and lapsing into red faced grins. Weirdly, Eddie seemed to have read the Tarot cards – he talked about his possible failure leading to a ticket on Q1 back to Sydney. Question is, will he get canned? Are they warming up the hot seat for him with an eye to bringing in somebody else to get the team ready for Tokyo? Any scuttlebut on that?

      • Columnist

        March 21st 2018 @ 5:38am
        Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 5:38am | ! Report

        It can all come to an end very quickly at RFU headquarters G, they’re a very fickle lot. Extending a current coaching contract (Eddie’s was extended recently) is also typically the kiss of death. I don’t think they have enough reason to can him right now without appearing vindictive, but if the run of poor results continues I doubt they would hesitate firing him before the 2019 WC. Let’s see what happens in SA in June.

        • March 21st 2018 @ 2:04pm
          Akari said | March 21st 2018 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

          And Stuart Barnes is already agitating for Dave Rennie to take over, Nick. Sad turn of events but the upside is that the SA tour is now of greater interest to all.

          • Columnist

            March 21st 2018 @ 4:49pm
            Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:49pm | ! Report

            Is he? I don’t read the ST… Rennie has yet to prove himself at Glasgow and I doubt he’d want the role now (if at all).

            • March 21st 2018 @ 6:38pm
              Akari said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:38pm | ! Report

              • Columnist

                March 21st 2018 @ 7:37pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 7:37pm | ! Report

                Thanks for that Akari.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 9:29pm
                cuw said | March 21st 2018 @ 9:29pm | ! Report

                DR will never agree with a year to RWC. people have limited memories – if he takes the job and loses in Japan he will be a bad coach , irrespective of the time he had to prepare.

                unless ofcourse they pay him more than the GBP 750k p.a. said to be the package Eddie is getting now.

                there was one analysis that the England had 30 staff – and there is suggestions for more after the losses 🙂

            • March 22nd 2018 @ 8:29pm
              julius said | March 22nd 2018 @ 8:29pm | ! Report

              “Rennie has yet to prove himself at Glasgow…”

              Are you serious? So two Super rugby trophies, three successive WR u20 titles and an NPC win is “unproven”?

              • Columnist

                March 22nd 2018 @ 8:56pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 22nd 2018 @ 8:56pm | ! Report

                The key is at the end of the sentence – “at Glasgow”. Glasgow lost all bar one of their European matches this season, after winning four out of six under Gregor Townsend the year before.

                Barnes claimed that Rennie should replace Eddie Jones (a coach with a proven international record), but the claim that he would improve England immediately, from what Jones has already done, is a huge and unjustifiable reach. IMO of course 🙂

    • March 21st 2018 @ 5:25am
      John said | March 21st 2018 @ 5:25am | ! Report

      Damn I enjoy these – thanks Nick. So a few questions (some in the form of comments);

      We’ve talked of Foley being a runner and not a great game manager, hence the benefit of Beale by his side. Are we now saying he is a better kicker than we thought, or just that on this day, in this game, he did ok.

      Surely the Irish will train against cross-field kicks to their wingers; they would be nuts not to, right?

      What worked against the Rebels won’t necessarily work against the Irish, right? After all, for all of the great kicking over 42 minutes of one game, Sexton is a better game manager and Murray is a great box kicker.

      That Twickenham victory so sets up the three-Test series in June. We will spend – what – 10 weeks looking forward to it. Expectations will build as seasons progress, squads are selected, form evolves during the season.

      • Columnist

        March 21st 2018 @ 5:41am
        Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 5:41am | ! Report

        We’ve talked of Foley being a runner and not a great game manager, hence the benefit of Beale by his side. Are we now saying he is a better kicker than we thought, or just that on this day, in this game, he did ok.

        It’s the first time he’s really been asked to do it consistently, so who knows John? After the success in this game I expect he’ll be asked to do it some more, which will give us the chance to find out!

        The Australia-Ireland series could be a really great one, it has the contrast of styles you need, and I don’t doubt Joe Schmidt will want to select his strongest possible side to maintain momentum from the 6N 🙂

        • March 21st 2018 @ 9:17am
          Ed said | March 21st 2018 @ 9:17am | ! Report

          Nick,

          It will be interesting if Cheika does change his mind on kicking. The below clip from June last year shows he understands the importance of a good chase (which Folau would provide if the Wallabies added this tactic), but Michael acknowledges he is not a fan of kicking. His answer on kicking is from 0:21.

          https://www.rugby.com.au/videos/2017/06/28/00/55/cheika-answers-the-fans-questions

          I will be interested to see what tactics the NZ SR sides come up with to counteract Folau when the Tahs begin playing them in May.

          • Columnist

            March 21st 2018 @ 9:26am
            Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 9:26am | ! Report

            Thanks Ed!

          • Roar Guru

            March 21st 2018 @ 9:44am
            PeterK said | March 21st 2018 @ 9:44am | ! Report

            all teams not just nz will now move blockers in front of the receiver to stop folau outjumping him.

            Refs rarely penalise it.

            • March 21st 2018 @ 10:55am
              rebel said | March 21st 2018 @ 10:55am | ! Report

              For box kicks yes this is common. A lot harder to pull off with cross field kicks.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 1:10pm
                Phil said | March 21st 2018 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

                Very astute,Rebel.PeterK keeps repeating about the blockers but it is a bit hard to do when they are not on the other side of the field.In open play it becomes a bit more obvious if you block someone without the ball.When you have someone with the aerial skills of Folau,it’s always going to be a good tactic.

              • Roar Guru

                March 21st 2018 @ 1:46pm
                PeterK said | March 21st 2018 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

                but if you look at most of the kicks they were not cross field out to the wing near the sideline but in fact midfield to the 15 metre line.

                Look on the highlights above.

                These will be easy to block when prepared for.

                Out wide to the tramline except near the tryline don’t off the same danger if he does catch it.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 3:22pm
                rebel said | March 21st 2018 @ 3:22pm | ! Report

                I was only talking about the cross field kicks. Agree others are easier to use blockers as team mates run lines while they are retreating.

            • March 21st 2018 @ 1:28pm
              Jacko said | March 21st 2018 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

              Perhaps the ABs and other teams will just catch it themselves instead of letting Foalu catch it…..Smith is brilliant at getting the ball from a kick and so is mcKenzie…Who I would suggest out jumps all others on a height to leap ratio

              • Roar Guru

                March 21st 2018 @ 1:43pm
                PeterK said | March 21st 2018 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

                folau has easily outjumped smith in aerial contests

              • Roar Guru

                March 21st 2018 @ 3:02pm
                Fox said | March 21st 2018 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

                Actually peterk that is not entirely true and a general sweeping statement like that rarely survives real scrutiny. He does not always “easily” best Smith in the contest.

                Why?

                Smith is magnificent at weaving through heavy traffic – along with Milner-Scudder probably one of very best in the world at it off both feet in the tight and he is a half a yard quicker than Folau.

                There have be occasions when the contest has not been in the air but on the ground and Smith has got to ball before Izzy. You just notice it because there is no contest in the air itself. There is more than one way to skin a cat Pk.

                Also Smith is so good he is one of the very few who actually can sometimes compete with Izzy in the air – look at this video and see who Smith beat to the ball in the first take – Izzy – proving that he does not “always easily” beat him in the air. When the ball went to ground in that game Smith was the one who got it back to AB’s side because he had control of it.

                Also just have look at Smith’s unbelievable tactical kicking and the skill he has chasing his own high balls and the speed of his cover defence at the end. This is why his regarded by many in the media across the rugby world as the world’s most complete player. The guy has the best tactical rugby brain of any FB in the world game.

                With the greatest respect you Pk – and I respect what you have to say – but I think sometimes people forget just how good Ben Smith is in the air -maybe this footage will remind you.

                Smith is still magnificent in the air even if Izzy is the best in the air which he is. Both have taken some spectacular takes at test level and club level.

                But on a pure height basis D Mac is arguably the one with the best jump – his leap to get balls over guys 6ft plus is outstanding at times but that is where his acceleration and gas coupled with his weight gets him serious lift off the ground. Simple laws of physics really.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 3:04pm
                Jacko said | March 21st 2018 @ 3:04pm | ! Report

                True peter and Smith has easily out jumped Folau too as you may remember from the first test last year, but getting the ball back from a kick is very often about timing and reading some comments I gathered it was just a case of kick it in the air and let Folau chase it as he will automatically get it back….and we know that to be a pipe dream otherwise surely Aus would beat all comers just by kicking it in the Air. As would the Tahs……And since they havnt beaten every team they come up against its fair to presume that other teams have players that can kick and catch too.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 3:09pm
                Fionn said | March 21st 2018 @ 3:09pm | ! Report

                In my opinion this is the equivalent of saying ‘Beauden Barrett out-kicked Farrell on the Lions tour, and therefore, he is a better kicker than Owen Farrell’. Pure nonsense. Or, the Wallabies beat the All Blacks last time and, therefore, they’re a better team.

                I am honestly baffled why some Kiwi posters seem so insecure about their players that they’re unwilling to admit the fact that there is a single aspect in which another player is better than their own.

                Smith might beat Folau in the air occasionally, as Barrett might out-kick Farrell occasionally, and Smith is probably the world’s best at chasing kicks, but when both in position to contest for the ball Folau will beat Smith in the air more often than not as he is better in the air, and much taller.

              • Roar Guru

                March 21st 2018 @ 4:12pm
                Fox said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

                Fionn you did read that I said Folau was the best in the air right?

                And I was negating Pk’s bold sweeping statement that Folau ” has easily out jumped Smith in aerial contests”

                It is statement that infers that it is always the case.

                And that just is not true even if Folau is the best in the air which as I said – he is. I mean fair cop Fionn, if anyone is going to say that when there is evidence that that is not entirely accurate what do you expect?

                Folau is the best in the air – no one is not saying that – well certainly not me – he is magnificent in the air as we all know.

              • Roar Guru

                March 21st 2018 @ 4:27pm
                PeterK said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:27pm | ! Report

                fox saker – I never stated Folau always outjumped Smith.

                The fact remains Folau has outjumped Smith more times than the other way (easily), and that is the repy to Jacko just saying AB’s and other teams will just catch the ball themselves

              • March 21st 2018 @ 4:29pm
                Fionn said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:29pm | ! Report

                Fair cop.

              • Columnist

                March 21st 2018 @ 4:52pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:52pm | ! Report

                What on earth is a ‘height to leap’ ratio Jacko?? 😀

              • March 21st 2018 @ 9:36pm
                cuw said | March 21st 2018 @ 9:36pm | ! Report

                @ NB

                I hazard a guess that it has something to do with the height of a player compared to the height he gets off the ground.

                someone like Folau – who is like 6′ 4″ – will be able to leap higher , becoz of longer legs and also be at a higher elevation due to longer torso.

                compared to a “midget” like DMAC who is like 5′ 9″ . with height comes different sized limbs and body.

                although i have not heard of this metric – it has been said that Michael “Air” Jordan was a better player then Lebron , becoz of the height (and size) difference.

                that MJ could get much higher off ground than may taller players.

              • March 22nd 2018 @ 7:49pm
                soapit said | March 22nd 2018 @ 7:49pm | ! Report

                fox looking at that vid id say smith probably has worse technique and leap and doesnt get the clear air to catch that folau does (folau commits leaps high and blasts through the challengers so he doesnt get knocked off where he needs to be giving him posiyional advantage in the air) however smith clearly has fantastic hands and catches many from positions where he’s not got himself any better position than his opposite (bearing inmind it was a highights clip and not necessarily an even sample) interesting comparison.

            • Columnist

              March 21st 2018 @ 4:51pm
              Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

              The traffic in front of the ball can make it just as difficult for the receiver in these circumstances Peter – but with his size and jumping ability Folau is a hard man to stop. He gets up so early and just hangs there!

              • March 21st 2018 @ 8:16pm
                double agent said | March 21st 2018 @ 8:16pm | ! Report

                Folau is without doubt the best catcher of a high ball I’ve ever seen.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 9:53pm
                cuw said | March 21st 2018 @ 9:53pm | ! Report

                perhaps they need to hit him when he lands. the body is not braced for opposing contact.

                u are most unbalanced when coming down after a running jump , most of the time on one foot AND with forward momentum.

                nowadays most defenders sit back if they think they will not be in a position to catch the ball and then jump on the catcher 🙂

        • Roar Guru

          March 21st 2018 @ 11:50am
          Fox said | March 21st 2018 @ 11:50am | ! Report

          The series will be serious l diminished if Ireland do not send their best possible side Nick and yes Joe will want that as well. Will he get it?

          I think Cheika may have the best depth he has had in a while and in previous problem areas like wing – 13 is still not a done an dusted position and that is a worry for me. Kuridrani has very much improved but where is the Australian 13 who is genuinely superb at reading the game in the D like Conrad Smith or Brian O’D or De Villiers or Jamie Roberts or Ryan Crotty?

          These players not only read the attack really well but organise the D as well – Australia for me is still missing a 13 of this class in defence and some may disagree but at test level this matters IMO. Other than that, I think Cheika has good depth in his back options now except at fly half maybe. Johnno Lance goes to Europe next year so not sure he will get picked with the WC in mind despite his form.

          But 13 is the one position that still is an issue at test level for the Wallabies in the D IMO.

          The fact that we continually have conversions about who is the genuine first choice centre this close to a WC is problematic because it is a pivotal defensive position in the D and an important combination between the 12 and 13 axis and link to the flanks that needs to be developed into a well oiled machine in both attack and defence against the best sides in world.

          So who is Australia’s genuine best 13 in both attack and especially defence, right here and now – and is that player genuine world class, and importantly, as both a defensive and attacking 13 – or who could become Australia’s best 13 is the question and IMO one Cheika needs to not only get right, but settle on before the WC.

          • March 21st 2018 @ 2:34pm
            Wazza said | March 21st 2018 @ 2:34pm | ! Report

            Hooper at 13. Anything to get him out of 7!

            • March 21st 2018 @ 2:38pm
              Fionn said | March 21st 2018 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

              I’m not quite sure what Fox is talking about, Kuridrani is one of the world’s elite defensive 13s, it’s his ball skills, speed and week-in, week-out effort in attack that are questionable, as well as his current form.

              Hooper makes misreads in defence at 7—often when he goes in for the dominant hit—so why would we move him to 13 when we have faster options (Naivalu, Hodge, Perese) and much more powerful options (Kerevi, Kuridrani) and Hooper is already a world class player at 7?

              • Roar Guru

                March 21st 2018 @ 3:56pm
                Fox said | March 21st 2018 @ 3:56pm | ! Report

                “it’s his ball skills, speed and week-in, week-out effort in attack that are questionable, as well as his current form.”

                Fionn that is exactly what I am on about. Do you ever hear anyone say that about Conrad Smith or Brian O’D or De Villers or even Crotty these days?

                It is his consistency as you rightly point out that IMO does not make him genuine world class. There is difference between being capable of world class performance and genuine world class player.

                Eddie Jones said in an interview with the SMH on England tour that we use the term “world class” too liberally in rugby and one of the things he says is key is performing consistently with very few, if any really bad games throughout most of their career at the top level- can we say that of Kuridrani? – as well as having exceptional ability.

                That does not mean I don’t think Kuridrani is a good player – he is – but his consistency is a problem and always has been in his career thus far, but as I said, he has worked on his game.However, he is not setting the world on fire so far at the Brumbies as you rightly point out Fionn, and some other players are looking very good this season.

                I would like to see Rona at 13 for NSW consistently personally and develop there though he had great game on the wing in the weekend.

                Agreed Hooper has to stay where he is and he is captain so he will stay there.That’s a no-brainer.

                One thing I don’t agree on is your claim the Kuridrani is one of the “world’s most eliite defensive 13’s” You could make that claim in attack when he is on song, but I doubt many across the globe would describe him as one of the world most elite ( very big terminology ) defensive 13’s

                He has missed 8 tackles already this year- was the Brumbies worst in game one – 2nd equal highest in game two so it is clearly still an area of his game that needs work.

                So we perhaps have to agree to disagree there.

              • Roar Guru

                March 21st 2018 @ 3:56pm
                Fox said | March 21st 2018 @ 3:56pm | ! Report

                “it’s his ball skills, speed and week-in, week-out effort in attack that are questionable, as well as his current form.”

                Fionn that is exactly what I am on about. Do you ever hear anyone say that about Conrad Smith or Brian O’D or De Villers or even Crotty these days?

                It is his consistency as you rightly point out that IMO does not make him genuine world class. There is difference between being capable of world class performance and genuine world class player.

                Eddie Jones said in an interview with the SMH on England tour that we use the term “world class” too liberally in rugby and one of the things he says is key is performing consistently with very few, if any really bad games throughout most of their career at the top level- can we say that of Kuridrani? – as well as having exceptional ability.

                That does not mean I don’t think Kuridrani is a good player – he is – but his consistency is a problem and always has been in his career thus far, but as I said, he has worked on his game.However, he is not setting the world on fire so far at the Brumbies as you rightly point out Fionn, and some other players are looking very good this season.

                I would like to see Rona at 13 for NSW consistently personally and develop there though he had great game on the wing in the weekend.

                Agreed Hooper has to stay where he is and he is captain so he will stay there.That’s a no-brainer.

                One thing I don’t agree on is your claim the Kuridrani is one of the “world’s most eliite defensive 13’s” You could make that claim in attack when he is on song, but I doubt many across the globe would describe him as one of the world most elite ( very big terminology ) defensive 13’s

                He has missed 8 tackles already this year- was the Brumbies worst in game one – 2nd equal highest in game two so it is clearly still an area of his game that needs work.

                So we perhaps have to agree to disagree there.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 4:02pm
                Fionn said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

                ‘Kuridrani has very much improved but where is the Australian 13 who is genuinely superb at reading the game in the D like Conrad Smith or Brian O’D or De Villiers or Jamie Roberts or Ryan Crotty?’

                We have a 13 who defends very well. In the RWC it was our inside centre who organised the defence, the All Blacks are using an inside centre to organise their defence (they’re just playing him out of position). You don’t need the 13 to organise the defence.

                Missed tackle stats aren’t really a very good way of determining things. First, because they only count when the player is in position to attempt the tackle, not when out of position via a misread, and also because rugby is not a black and white game at all.

                Also, Jack Goodhue missed a bunch of tackles against the Crusaders, and Dan Carter, Owen Farrell and even in-form Morne Steyn have/had poor goal kicking days.

                And I don’t even have a particular preference for TK making the Wallabies, his lack of form for the Brumbies and his lack of attacking form for the Wallabies is really irking me, we just need to be specific here, we have the choice of a 13 with great defence who is offering nothing in attack (Kuridrani) and a 13 with defensive issues but who is unbelievable in attack (Kerevi).

              • Roar Guru

                March 21st 2018 @ 4:45pm
                Fox said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

                So if not Kerevi or Kuridrani – who do you personally see as a really good long term prospect there Fionn?

              • Roar Guru

                March 21st 2018 @ 4:57pm
                Fox said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

                So Fionn if not those two who do you see there in the long term?

              • Columnist

                March 21st 2018 @ 4:57pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

                To Fionn (below)

                I wouldn’t put it as starkly as your last para but that is the gist of it. I suspect Kuridrani is the man in pole position of the two right now.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 7:24pm
                Fionn said | March 21st 2018 @ 7:24pm | ! Report

                Fair, Nick, but I have been astounded by some or Kerevi’s attacking stats, and astounded by some of Kuridrani’s also (just in the other way).

                I rewatched a few matches from 2013 recently when sick and it is like he is a completely different player with ball in hand. He was taking to ball at speed and bending the line and carrying guys over it in a Mortlockesque fashion back then, and he seems to have completely lost it.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 7:48pm
                Fionn said | March 21st 2018 @ 7:48pm | ! Report

                Hodge set to play 13 for the Rebels. I’m excited to see this.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 8:18pm
                double agent said | March 21st 2018 @ 8:18pm | ! Report

                Yes Kridrani’s current form is not good. Invisible.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 10:00pm
                cuw said | March 21st 2018 @ 10:00pm | ! Report

                Kuridrani is the best defensive center in aussy

                but atm , he is woefully out of form – if i was the coach will not even play him , despite his test status.

                but then the same can be said of Chiefs 13 Faauli too – i dont know why they dont play someone else ( perhaps everyone is injured .. )

                in general i think aussy teams need to align their teams’ better / test players with the national vision.

                i mean even a little child will know when fit Beale will play 12. so the teams need to put guys like Kerevi Hodge .. at 13.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 10:31pm
                Fionn said | March 21st 2018 @ 10:31pm | ! Report

                Yep, Cuw, wouldn’t be surprised to see Verity-Amm soon unless TKs form picks up.

                We know how good he can be, so hopeful he puts it together.

          • Columnist

            March 21st 2018 @ 4:55pm
            Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:55pm | ! Report

            It will come down to one of the K’s Fox, though they both have improvements to make to become a Jonathan Davies (Jamie Roberts was a 12 who played inside JD for Wales btw). Tom English has also impressed me lately, though I’m not sure whether he has what it takes for Test rugby.

            • Roar Guru

              March 21st 2018 @ 6:17pm
              Fox said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:17pm | ! Report

              Yeah thanks I got my wires crossed there Nick and should know better – i realised that after I not long after I posted it but figured people would figure it out.- that’s life

              I tend to think Kuridrani there but Cheika does not have too much depth in test quality centres – Kerevi defends far better at 12 but then you have the Beale – Hodge – Kerevi -debate which is no debate really because Beale will play there

              Hodge is not playing wing this season and other specialist wingers are stating their case so will Cheika find a spot for him for his long goalkicking?

              • Columnist

                March 21st 2018 @ 6:20pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:20pm | ! Report

                I think Hodge has to compete with Beale at 12 and try to push him out of the starting spot Fox.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 6:28pm
                Scott said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:28pm | ! Report

                Unless Beale plays at 15, with Folau on the Wing.

              • Columnist

                March 21st 2018 @ 7:32pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 7:32pm | ! Report

                The whole Hodge/Beale/Folau triangle tends to work out the same whatever the numbers on their backs Scott.

                Hodge always ends up defending at 12, with the other two in the backfield!

              • Roar Guru

                March 21st 2018 @ 6:32pm
                Fox said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:32pm | ! Report

                Yeah i tend to agree and you know he has the ability but Beale has that thing called ‘high profile – popular with the public player” and ‘ long standing mate-ship with the coach and team and that takes some nudging in any sport. And he plays for Cheika’s beloved NSW.

                It’s why some players past their used by date take time to get dropped sometimes.

                Tough ask for Hodge but he has to be playing 2 times better to get a look in IMO unless Beale goes to FB and as he did on the tour last year and Folau to the wing but I can’t see it with Cheika.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 6:48pm
                Fionn said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:48pm | ! Report

                You should see the boys on the GAGR podcast, think Beale is the best thing since sliced bread.

                Which is… in attack… when he is on.

                Beale’s highs are so high but his lows (especially on defence) are so low.

                What does Hodge have to do to push Beale out? Playing Hodge at 12 makes it much easier to justify playing Kerevi at 13.

              • Columnist

                March 21st 2018 @ 7:39pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 7:39pm | ! Report

                Hodge needs to improve the tactical aspects of his kicking from hand and make himself the unquestioned number one goal-kicker. Then he’d be first at 12 without a doubt (all other things being even!).

              • March 21st 2018 @ 7:50pm
                riddler said | March 21st 2018 @ 7:50pm | ! Report

                personally i find hodge’s wind up for his general play kicking is too long..

                something i would have thought byrne should be working on..

                on a kicking note.. wasn’t it great to see hogg pull out a couple of spiral kicks for touch from penalties for the scots..

                oh those were the days, torpedos ahoy!!

              • Columnist

                March 21st 2018 @ 8:34pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 8:34pm | ! Report

                Stuart Hogg has always been a serial offender with the spun kicks Riddler – I don’t think he’s ever tried the end over end punt or that deliberate slice they practice now…

              • March 21st 2018 @ 8:42pm
                Fionn said | March 21st 2018 @ 8:42pm | ! Report

                Fair comments, Nick. Do you expect his decision making in regards to tactical kicking to improve via simply playing more matches in the centres, or will it take specific coaching?

                You think his distribution is currently good enough at 12?

                By the way, do you feel the old adage of ‘attack wins matches, defence wins tournaments’ is actually true, or is it somewhat misleading, such as the idea that ‘the game is ALWAYS won up front’ and backs therefore don’t matter.

              • Columnist

                March 21st 2018 @ 10:31pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 10:31pm | ! Report

                It’s a mixture of both Fionn, but I do think he needs to settle down in one position for the sake of his career, and 12 fits the bill best IMO.

    • Roar Guru

      March 21st 2018 @ 6:12am
      Harry Jones said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:12am | ! Report

      Eddie Jones took a shot at Wales, the place.

      But look here: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/11/wales-household-waste-recycling-england

      England is awash in waste, whilst Wales is getting very clean!

      Good article, NB.

      I see increasing accuracy in the pass-kicks. Probably a dozen already in SR have worked like a charm; producing tries or line break-penalties.

      Question: why don’t teams use more variety for what the lineout jumper does with the ball, especially when he occupies an “untouchable” position at the back? That’s aerial dominance, too. All too often teams waste that ball by letting the guy return to earth, only to try to roll a maul, with about 40% success at moving forward long enough for the ref to let it proceed. Or the catcher just shoots it down to the scrumhalf, which is fine, but very predictable. Why can’t locks and long loosies be trained to pass to 10 or even 12 or even NFL-style to the outside backs, from that super-protected, visually-unconstrained position?

      • Roar Guru

        March 21st 2018 @ 6:20am
        The Neutral View From Sweden said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:20am | ! Report

        Why can’t locks and long loosies be trained to pass to 10 or even 12 or even NFL-style to the outside backs, from that super-protected, visually-unconstrained position?

        I love this idea Harry. I can “see it” and it looks awesome. And three meters above ground you have a pretty nice view of the field.

        • Roar Guru

          March 21st 2018 @ 6:26am
          Harry Jones said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:26am | ! Report

          Yep. It’s like the best position you could ever occupy on the field, now that jumpers are treated like sacred objects that must not be touched.

          I bet a guy like Scott Fardy or Jerome Kaino or Warren Whiteley could throw a decent spiral overhand, and hit a charging midfielder on the move, with the defence forced to lay back.

          • Columnist

            March 21st 2018 @ 6:49am
            Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:49am | ! Report

            We do not let Fardy anywhere near distribution duties H 😀

            • Roar Guru

              March 21st 2018 @ 6:52am
              Harry Jones said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:52am | ! Report

              Maybe in the pub. I think he is probably good there.

          • Roar Guru

            March 21st 2018 @ 9:49am
            PeterK said | March 21st 2018 @ 9:49am | ! Report

            Harry one issue with this is players not involved in the lineout have to be 10 metres back, that includes the attacking lineout.

            So the lock is required to spin around sideways and pass more than 10 metres, probably 15 metres when you see the 10 is also further infield.

            • Columnist

              March 21st 2018 @ 4:59pm
              Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

              …And in the air Peter, while he’s still trying to get all of his s**t together (timing, lifting, calling etc)!

              • Roar Guru

                March 22nd 2018 @ 6:22am
                Harry Jones said | March 22nd 2018 @ 6:22am | ! Report

                PSDT could do it.
                You’ll see. RWC.
                Boks KO Irish.
                Using my idea.
                hahahhahaha

        • March 21st 2018 @ 12:11pm
          MitchO said | March 21st 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

          NV, Harry is just taking the micky.
          Jokes about Aussie super rugby teams aside I reckon you probably haven’t watched much low level rugby. There is tried tested and rarely used move where a hooker with a good arm throws the ball right over the top of the lineout to a centre coming forward at pace. We don’t use it much but most of us have seen it and tried it at least once.

          A true tragedy of “modern” lineout law is that the clever play from a tap penalty has been taken out of the game. Who can forget those silly things the coach wheels out which almost never work. Most of the time you are better off just working a move off a scrum.

          We learned one once where some of the forwards form a wall and the half back taps the ball and then with his back to the opposition chips back over his head like a sort box kick taking the opposition by surprise. The only time I have seen it work was when a team did it to us and scored a try.

          • Roar Guru

            March 21st 2018 @ 1:52pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | March 21st 2018 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

            MitchO, I guess you had not read my comment below about Nick “playing” Harry before you wrote this?

            • March 21st 2018 @ 2:25pm
              MitchO said | March 21st 2018 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

              Hadn’t.

          • Columnist

            March 21st 2018 @ 5:00pm
            Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

            There is tried tested and rarely used move where a hooker with a good arm throws the ball right over the top of the lineout to a centre coming forward at pace. We don’t use it much but most of us have seen it and tried it at least once.

            Highlanders use this kind of move quite a lot Mitch, so ny no means confined to ‘lower levels of the game’…

            • March 21st 2018 @ 5:16pm
              MitchO said | March 21st 2018 @ 5:16pm | ! Report

              Reckon they’d be better at it than we were.

      • Columnist

        March 21st 2018 @ 6:48am
        Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:48am | ! Report

        I can confirm that we recycle very zealously here in Wales (and much better than we ever did in Brighton). I have at least six diff colour bins and bags to fill with assorted waste of varying types!

        Why can’t locks and long loosies be trained to pass to 10 or even 12 or even NFL-style to the outside backs, from that super-protected, visually-unconstrained position?

        Speaking as an ex second row or ‘long loosie’, I can also confirm how silly that suggestion sounds. We like to soar into the air, then await the applause as we return to terra firma!

        • Roar Guru

          March 21st 2018 @ 6:51am
          Harry Jones said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:51am | ! Report

          Haha! Do you honestly trust halfbacks to make distributive choices over wise old souls like AWJ and Sam Whitelock? I think Retallick looks like he can throw NFL style.

          • Roar Guru

            March 21st 2018 @ 7:14am
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | March 21st 2018 @ 7:14am | ! Report

            Nick is playing you, Harry. If he complimented your genius idea the word might get out, now the idea is “terminated” on the sketch board, or at least that is what Nick wants the world to believe.
            You can be certain that Leinster will start practice this tomorrow and when it is time for the ECC final in May at San Mames in Bilbao, James Ryan will throw an epic 35-meter pass that opens an ocean of space and that seals the deal for Leinster. Nick is will be the new go-to guru in the rugby world, while no-one will believe you when you in ecstatic disbelief tell everyone at your local that it was your idea.

            😉

            • Columnist

              March 21st 2018 @ 7:34am
              Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 7:34am | ! Report

              Curses! My cunning plan has been confounded!

              • Roar Guru

                March 21st 2018 @ 7:54am
                Harry Jones said | March 21st 2018 @ 7:54am | ! Report

                hahaha

                I have seen this type of play

                I think it is a high percentage, if on attack, of course

                It has less moving parts

                It’s A to D instead of A to B to C to D

      • March 21st 2018 @ 7:04am
        Cynical Play said | March 21st 2018 @ 7:04am | ! Report

        Yes, interesting. Line-out moves from the back make alot of sense. Even if the catcher takes the ball to the opposing 10 you have gained many metres straight up. The blind winger and hooker can round around the back of the line-out and create an attack pod, running at the 10. or as you say have the last man distribute the ball straight to the 10 or 12 for immediate width. I recall the classic move from McCaw (can’t recall the test) where the line-out split with a gap in the middle between the front and back jumping pod, and Richie must have been half-back and he received the ball on his chest from the thrower and ran through to score.

        • Roar Guru

          March 21st 2018 @ 7:20am
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | March 21st 2018 @ 7:20am | ! Report

          The McCaw try was against Springboks away 2015. It was Kieran Read’s idea to use that move. He had seen Samoa tried to pull it off against the Springboks (I believe Samoa did not manage to pull it off but Read realized that it was nothing wrong with the idea, jus Samoa’s execution). If you look closely at the replays you can see that Kieran Read is celebrating that try in soccer style.

          • March 21st 2018 @ 7:30am
            Cynical Play said | March 21st 2018 @ 7:30am | ! Report

            • March 21st 2018 @ 8:07am
              Highlander said | March 21st 2018 @ 8:07am | ! Report

              that is still so cool, and all kudos to Read

            • March 21st 2018 @ 2:49pm
              StuM said | March 21st 2018 @ 2:49pm | ! Report

              Unfortunately, it won’t happen with our Walllabies.. we’re a little too r.o.b.o.t.r.o.n.i.c!

        • Columnist

          March 21st 2018 @ 7:35am
          Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 7:35am | ! Report

          I recall the classic move from McCaw (can’t recall the test) where the line-out split with a gap in the middle between the front and back jumping pod, and Richie must have been half-back and he received the ball on his chest from the thrower and ran through to score.

          You sure you’re not thinking of Tony Woodcock in the 2011 WC final against France CP?

          • March 21st 2018 @ 7:50am
            John said | March 21st 2018 @ 7:50am | ! Report

            Good man. Joubert was the ref that day.

            When the All Blacks played the Eagles in Chicago they ran the same play and scored again. Joubert was also ref that day and you can clearly hear him say as he smiles “where have I seen that before?”

            Its a shame that Craig is now on the sevens circuit after the hatchet job from the Scots.

          • March 21st 2018 @ 7:55am
            Jerry said | March 21st 2018 @ 7:55am | ! Report

            McCaw scored one vs SA in either 2014 or 15 when he lined up at the halfback position, the AB lineout set up two pods with a big gap in the middle which McCaw went into and took the throw directly from the hooker.

            The Woodcock one is essentially a “willie away” but going through the middle gap intstead of round the back. He gets the ball from the jumper rather than from the hooker.

            • March 21st 2018 @ 7:56am
              Jerry said | March 21st 2018 @ 7:56am | ! Report

              Turns out I misrembered, it wasn’t two pods they just all went back and left a gap at the front.

              • Columnist

                March 21st 2018 @ 8:17am
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 8:17am | ! Report

                Scotland have also scored two tries using this move recently Jerry – I recall Alex Dunbar scoring against the Irish last season with it…

              • March 21st 2018 @ 8:22am
                Jerry said | March 21st 2018 @ 8:22am | ! Report

                Also, re the Woodcock move (the AB’s call it the teabag dip which is a bit rude sounding), I remember they first used it in 2008 vs Australia and it worked perfectly for Woodcock to score. They then put it away and never used it again till that 2011 final so it was a perfect example of a team keeping their powder dry till the right moment.

              • Columnist

                March 21st 2018 @ 8:31am
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 8:31am | ! Report

                The ‘Teabag’ move originated at Ospreys when Steve Hansen was coaching Wales Jerry. Ospreys used to split the lineout and then push Mike Phillips through the middle gap. Shag must have taken it back with him and waited for the right moment to unveil it (couldn’t have picked a better moment!)

            • Roar Guru

              March 21st 2018 @ 1:23pm
              Fox said | March 21st 2018 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

              “Scotland have also scored two tries using this move recently Jerry – I recall Alex Dunbar scoring against the Irish last season with it…”

              Your not saying the North is stealing ideas from the AB’s Nick – Surely not 🙂 There will be rioting if that gets out !!!

              • Roar Guru

                March 21st 2018 @ 1:55pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | March 21st 2018 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

                When T-man sees this… 😉

              • March 23rd 2018 @ 1:00am
                Taylorman said | March 23rd 2018 @ 1:00am | ! Report

                Its all good, we love sharing with the north, helps our GDP.😀

              • March 21st 2018 @ 3:28pm
                rebel said | March 21st 2018 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

                Fox I think any coach worth his salt, where ever he resides in the world, would be mad not to take note of successful tactics used by others.

              • Roar Guru

                March 21st 2018 @ 4:46pm
                Fox said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:46pm | ! Report

                Of course Rebel – it was tongue in cheek

              • March 21st 2018 @ 5:50pm
                rebel said | March 21st 2018 @ 5:50pm | ! Report

                As I thought, my comment was really directed at those who constantly claim superiority.

              • Columnist

                March 21st 2018 @ 5:02pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 5:02pm | ! Report

                I see your “All Black ancestry” antennae are as sharp as ever today Fox 😀

                You should start a website tracing all good things in rugby back to NZ! 🙂

              • Roar Guru

                March 21st 2018 @ 6:23pm
                Fox said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:23pm | ! Report

                No Nick you can only get away with so much in life – so i decided to make one tracing all “good blokes” back to NZ instead 😉

                There openings for honorary members and noble mentions of course!

              • Columnist

                March 21st 2018 @ 6:25pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:25pm | ! Report

                “kiwimatesancestry.co.nz”??

              • Roar Guru

                March 21st 2018 @ 6:37pm
                Fox said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:37pm | ! Report

                Excellent idea Nick I will include Aussies as I have duel citizenship and don’t want to upset my mates – so may have be Australasian-good-rugbyblokes.org

                Can’t be good-looking rugby blokes – I’d get a lifetime ban 🙂

              • Columnist

                March 21st 2018 @ 7:35pm
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 21st 2018 @ 7:35pm | ! Report

                Can’t be good-looking rugby blokes – I’d get a lifetime ban 🙂

                You mean… you mean you don’t look like that lounge lizard in your little photo??

              • Roar Guru

                March 21st 2018 @ 11:45pm
                Fox said | March 21st 2018 @ 11:45pm | ! Report

                Sadly yes I do Nick and that’s on good day 🙂

              • Roar Guru

                March 21st 2018 @ 11:53pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | March 21st 2018 @ 11:53pm | ! Report

                Come on Fox, you are the Leonard Cohen of the Roar…

              • Columnist

                March 22nd 2018 @ 1:26am
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 22nd 2018 @ 1:26am | ! Report

                That really is very good NV – one of your best 😀

              • Roar Guru

                March 22nd 2018 @ 2:44am
                Fox said | March 22nd 2018 @ 2:44am | ! Report

                Haha not bad NVFS – I’ll take that – except he is dead !!! And a younger version I am too –

                Hallelujah to that -now there is a song that religious people have locked onto much to Cohen’s disgust and amusement because it has absolutely nothing to with religion at all – it is actually a pretty dark themed song.

                Very misunderstood musician – hey bit like me – well I do play guitar and piano at least 🙂

          • March 21st 2018 @ 8:28am
            Cynical Play said | March 21st 2018 @ 8:28am | ! Report

            Nick

            I’d love to see an article on the dark arts of the line-out plus some examples of “great line-out moves”over the years. Not that you haven’t enough to do I’m sure.

      • Roar Rookie

        March 21st 2018 @ 8:47am
        Paul D said | March 21st 2018 @ 8:47am | ! Report

        It would be a strange ballet to see the props, while propping the lock in the air, pirouetting 180 degree to have him facing the backline.

        I do recall the Wallabies holding a catcher up for extra long to fool the opposition into mistiming their maul drive. The ref was not amused and said something along the lines “you can’t keep him there forever”

        • Roar Guru

          March 21st 2018 @ 9:09am
          Harry Jones said | March 21st 2018 @ 9:09am | ! Report

          Matfield would hold the ball high, do a dummy or two, and sometimes feed the blindside winger coming through …

        • Roar Guru

          March 21st 2018 @ 9:56am
          PeterK said | March 21st 2018 @ 9:56am | ! Report

          Interesting though nothing directly in the laws preventing a player being held up a long time.
          It could come up under wasting time, dangerous play or unsportsman like.

          Personally I think it fair since often maul drives are before the player touches the ground and that is ignored.

          • March 21st 2018 @ 12:17pm
            MitchO said | March 21st 2018 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

            I reckon you’d counter it by putting the drive on the lifter. So long as you don’t collapse it it shoudl be legal – but it’d still scare the guy in the air..

            • Roar Rookie

              March 21st 2018 @ 12:29pm
              Paul D said | March 21st 2018 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

              Has the maul formed with the player still in the air? I thought not. I think you’d be skating close to taking out the lifter and it will come down to the discretion of the ref. Though it’d probably favour the attacking team.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 12:55pm
                MitchO said | March 21st 2018 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

                Hi Paul, if in doubt give someone a shove and see what happens.

                But I would not be looking to take out the lifter as such. You grab the lifter and the guy in the air if you need to steady him and drive all three of them (both lifters and jumper) back like a kind of a pod. Probably not legal but you gotta own the advantage line and keep the pressure on the opposition even it costs a penalty some time. I reckon you’d get away with it if you made it look safe and only drove them back.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 12:57pm
                Jerry said | March 21st 2018 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

                For a maul to be formed, you need a ball carrier and at least one player from each team on their feet and bound. I would say that a player being supported is obviously not on their feet, so you can’t form a maul while they’re still up there.

          • March 21st 2018 @ 12:23pm
            Jerry said | March 21st 2018 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

            That piqued my curiousity so I double checked – turns out that lifters aren’t allowed to hold them up once the bll has been won, but it’s only a free kick offence.

            From 18.28(c) “Players who support or lift a team-mate must lower the player to the ground safely as soon as the ball is won by a player of either team. Sanction: Free-kick.”

            • Roar Rookie

              March 21st 2018 @ 12:58pm
              Paul D said | March 21st 2018 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

              Yeah, that’s a sensible ruling.

            • March 21st 2018 @ 3:30pm
              rebel said | March 21st 2018 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

              Yeah I thought that I had heard a ref implement this in a match I had played in. Did stop the silly b*ggers play.

            • Roar Guru

              March 21st 2018 @ 4:45pm
              PeterK said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

              my mistake

              It never happened to me in the games I reffed, obviously not strong / fit enough to hold the man up so high for long, so I suppose you forget the laws you never had to apply or consider the situation.

              As pointed out it is dangerous play to drive the lifter , this is often penalised., it comes under no shoving and no charging

              • Roar Guru

                March 21st 2018 @ 4:48pm
                Fox said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

                Hey Pk, just curious, in your ref days have ever seen anyone exercise the option in the laws to take scrum after a mark is taken? Or from another ref?

              • Roar Guru

                March 21st 2018 @ 5:05pm
                PeterK said | March 21st 2018 @ 5:05pm | ! Report

                Fox – yes multiple times.

                3 common situations.

                The player taking the mark was injured during the take (either landing, or player tackling him) so unable to take the kick, no one esle is allowed to take it.

                The other situation is the player who took the mark (in my case front row players) can’t kick, so the captain took the scrum so the ball can be given to a player with a good boot.

                Near the end of the game with a slim lead , used the scrum to wind the clock down.

              • Roar Guru

                March 21st 2018 @ 6:54pm
                Fox said | March 21st 2018 @ 6:54pm | ! Report

                Thanks Pk and great points and situational reasons. Thanks mate.

                I think I have seen used once in test rugby but that was a while ago now and for your first reason from memory.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 10:06pm
                Fionn said | March 21st 2018 @ 10:06pm | ! Report

                I didn’t even know that was a rule, so thanks guys 😀

              • Roar Guru

                March 22nd 2018 @ 1:32am
                Poth Ale said | March 22nd 2018 @ 1:32am | ! Report

                England did it to Ireland with Itoje being ‘slowly’ returned to ground and Ireland were penalized for attacking too early.

              • Roar Guru

                March 22nd 2018 @ 2:34am
                Harry Jones said | March 22nd 2018 @ 2:34am | ! Report

                He’s very light.

                I think they inflate his kg on the programme.

                Seems to fold up in contact.

              • Columnist

                March 22nd 2018 @ 2:47am
                Nicholas Bishop said | March 22nd 2018 @ 2:47am | ! Report

                Yes I recall that play clearly – there has to be no delay by law…

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