Five big questions Rugby Australia must ask Michael Cheika

Steiner Roar Pro

By Steiner, Steiner is a Roar Pro

 , ,

163 Have your say

    With the June Tests coming up sooner than we realise, and the World Cup just around the corner next year, here are five questsions Rugby Australia should be asking Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.

    Q1: Michael who are our best halves combinations and their backups for the June Tests and leading into Rugby World Cup 2019?
    We have the Kurtley Beale-Bernard Foley combination at the Tahs with Jake Gordon and Nick Phipps to return. Are they our halves combination? Are the halves sewn up by the Tahs in Beale-Foley, Phipps-Gordon with Will Genia unable to be denied due to his form?

    Seriously, does James Tuttle’s goal kicking or Joe Powell’s passing game get a look in? Or does Phipps automatically walk back into the squad to resume his spot with Genia?

    Do Matt Toomua and Nic White even warrant some effort to bring them back from overseas? Or is that contravening some Cheika squad law?

    Cheiks, please explain why these guys have no value to the Wallabies anymore and why they are not worth being vigorously pursued as others have been, considering the chronic lack of quality depth and experience in our halves?

    And as part of the puzzle Cheiks, can you also explain why we have Quade Cooper being paid $600k to play Brisbane club rugby, while the Brumbies have an ineligible and ordinary New Zealand flyhalf in Wharenui Hawera as their first choice, and the Rebels have the limited Jack Debreczini filling in with no specific backup option?

    Is this the best use of player resources in Australian rugby? What are you actually doing with the franchises to develop depth at No. 10 (if anything) and get Cooper back into Super rugby Michael?

    Q2: Who is going to be our backrow in June to take on Ireland and with a view to Rugby World Cup ’19?
    I know you are a Michael Hooper fan and he is your captain. Is that still valid with David Pocock back to imperious form and his undeniable leadership qualities? Are we going to repeat the ‘Pooper’, which was exposed by the All Blacks in the 2015 Rugby World Cup final?

    Will you consider a genuine ball running No.8, a physical No.6 and a hard on the ball No.7? Please don’t say Ned Hanigan is the answer when we have Caleb Timu, Scott Higginbotham, Isi Naisarani, Jack Dempsey, Lukhan Tui,

    Jed Holloway and hopefully Robert Valetini are viable 6 and 8 men in the Rugby World Cup mix for 2019.

    I am safely assuming, like the other Brumby rejects in Joe Tomane, Toomua and White, that there are no plans to bring back Scott Fardy, who can jump, ruck, carry and lead as an experienced forward for the Rugby World Cup.

    Why did Sean McMahon take off to Japan? Are we working on getting him back next year?

    And don’t even get me started on the next best and well-rounded Aussie No.7, with a leadership ability and a very good rugby brain tearing up rucks for fun, in Lyon – Liam Gill. You know, the young guy who won back-to-back Pilecki Medals for Queensland before realising he had buckley’s of getting a run with the Wallabies and took off to France?

    And by the way, nice job spotting Alex Mafi’s talent as a backrower at the Tahs and letting Eddie Jones pinch him for Japan. He’d be kind of handy for the Wallabies right now.

    Q3: Which position is Izzy actually going to play?
    Israel Folau spent most of his very successful rugby league career as a right winger. When he crossed over to union, Robbie Deans flagged him as a right winger, not a fullback, and Folau had a breakout season against the British and Irish Lions in 2013.

    Deans, like him or not, knew a thing or two about playing fullback and the balance needed in the back three.

    Israel Folau Australia Rugby Union Championship Bledisloe Cup Wallabies 2017

    Is it time Folau moved back to the right wing? (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

    A lot is at stake and, regardless of Izzy’s religious views, we need to optimise his potential in the Wallabies backline and try to retain him as a major drawcard for the code. He is one of our few genuine world-class players.

    Now Daryl Gibson has gone full circle and Folau is back on the right wing. Move Izzy to the wing and please get someone who can actually kick into the back three and our notoriously poor exits may improve!

    Q4: What is our tactical approach?
    Michael, I get your overwhelming focus on your own team and the ball-in-hand Randwick Way, but we don’t just play with ourselves. Rugby involves an opposition, so try as we might to ignore it, their actions, strengths, and weaknesses are essential considerations as part of the battle.

    Analysing an opposition is part and parcel of developing a game plan and adapting to specific circumstances. And if that game plan is not working, how about developing some on-field leaders who are smart enough to see that and adjust?

    To be frank Cheiks, your comments about kicking and gameplans concern me, and so does the Wallabies’ poor exit stats and general predictability. Did you watch the Tahs’ games this season with Folau soaring on the wing and the Beale-Foley combo launching attacking kicks on that flank?

    That is the kind of variety and skill supporters want to see from the Wallabies.

    Q5: What are we doing to innovate in defence?
    Michael, I know you and Nathan Grey have a bro thing going on, but once upon a time, at the turn of the last century, the Wallabies innovated and we reaped the benefits. The All Blacks are now the innovators, even using Australian personnel from the NRL and the AFL to stay ahead of the pack.

    For all your love of league, how about using their defensive expertise to innovate to our advantage? Traditionally, in Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere rugby competitions, the best defensive innovators have come from the other code.

    So instead of having jolly, media-driven love-ins with Sydney league teams running around with the Wallabies at training, how about getting their best coaching brains in so as to work out how we take the next step in rugby’s defensive evolution?

    Whatever you decide, Rugby Australia will agree to, so you have the power. If you’re not interested, at least get Rod Kafer onto it as he seems to have a reasonable rugby IQ.

    That way, when you and Nathan shoot through after the 2019 Rugby World Cup, we may have some fresh ideas ready to go.

    What do you think Roarers? No doubt I have missed something. Go ahead and voice your questions – who knows, those Cheikaphiles in the Sydney rugby media may actually ask a hard question or two of him sometime this season.

    They probably won’t, but at least we can kick the can down the road.

    Getting hassled by a parent or partner about spending too much time playing video games? Now, you can tell them the story of how some ordinary gamers scored $225k for just seven weeks of work.

    Have Your Say

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

    Oldest | Newest | Most Recent

    The Crowd Says (163)

    • April 13th 2018 @ 3:00am
      Mick said | April 13th 2018 @ 3:00am | ! Report

      Absolutely spot on. I have grizzled repeatedly to friends about all the points you have made but while your comments are erudite its unlikely the RU will listen to a word your have written.

    • April 13th 2018 @ 3:42am
      John said | April 13th 2018 @ 3:42am | ! Report

      What a great article – thanks Steiner.

      Frankly, I don’t care if they’re the top 5 questions or even the top 10. They need to be asked.

      • Roar Rookie

        April 13th 2018 @ 4:33am
        tsuru said | April 13th 2018 @ 4:33am | ! Report

        Is it just me, or does this article sound to others like a cut-and-paste of the top complaints on this site about Cheika for the last 3 years?

        • April 13th 2018 @ 4:57am
          riddler said | April 13th 2018 @ 4:57am | ! Report

          to me too..

          instead of questions why not offer solutions..

          beside personal bias and illogical options..

          solutions are far more of point than questions.. everybody knows the questions and faults of our team..

          proper unbiased solutions are thin on the ground..

          • April 13th 2018 @ 6:14am
            MH01 said | April 13th 2018 @ 6:14am | ! Report

            Solutions ? You really have not noticed the countless posts about say pocock at 7 and hooper at 20? Problem is those solutions are just swept aside by….. personal bias 😉 the irony of bias is not lost here…

            Do you really want solutions ? I don’t think so, nothing is broken right ?

            Mate, the head coach is being paid the big bucks, we pay him to prodvide solutions, the logic that fans complaining need to provide a solutions is …. illogical .

          • April 13th 2018 @ 8:15am
            jameswm said | April 13th 2018 @ 8:15am | ! Report

            And me too riddler. I started off thinking this might be interesting, but it just turned into an anti-Tah and anti-Cheika whinge.

            Fact is:

            – Fardy is overrated. He’s good in rucks and a good jumper and smart, but he is nowhere near strong enough in collisions to play test rugby for us, or fast/agile enough. Compare him to Tupou, Rodda, Coleman, Timu, Kepu, TPN etc – that’s what we need. Serious strength in contact

            – Cheika does actually have more tactics than he lets on. He and Mick Byrne are smart guys and they learn from mistakes – with the only exception being selection stubbornness

            – Cheika can’t force the Brumbies to pick Quade Cooper

            – Naisarani isn’t eligible so it’s pointless mentioning him

            – Nic White isn’t good enough to make the special effort bring back, and he plays like too much of an angry ant (unless he’s mellowed). Powell isn’t a great runner or defender and Tuttle is a yard slower than a statue. Phipps has inconsistent passing no doubt, but he is the fittest guy there, a good cover defender, and the quickest to the breakdown. Swings and roundabouts. I would have Genia and Gordon (at least) ahead of him, but he is far from hopeless and Tuttle and Powell are not clearly better. Ruru needs more game time and Louwrens needs to spend more than a handful of games pl aying without getting a knee reco.

            One question – was Amanaki Mafi once at the Tahs, and Cheika rejected him? Like Coleman and Lopeti Timani?

            • April 13th 2018 @ 8:35am
              Fionn said | April 13th 2018 @ 8:35am | ! Report

              Rugby isn’t just about strength in contact, it isn’t league. You have to be able to dominate defensively and win at the key areas of contest – the ruck, line out and scrum. Fardy was excellent at the former two, which are two of our biggest weaknesses. He’s killing it for probably the best club in Europe.

              The argument that Phipps’ passing is ameliorated by his other attributes is just one I cannot see. An accurate pass and decision making has to be non-negotiable for an international halfback. Go back and read Nick’s article about his performance off the bench against England, or think back to that fixture in 2016 when his awful pass meant we had a try scored against us from halfway when under no pressure that turned the momentum. When you say it’s okay that he doesn’t have them it’s like going back to the days when’s Wallaby coaches picked props based on their dynamism around the park as opposed to their scrummaging. I’d have Gordon, Powell, Tuttle pen Ruru over him. Ruru would start for any other Aussie team but the Rebels and he is the most complete halfback of the lot.

              I’m not saying you’re wrong about Cheika having more tactics than he lets on, but I don’t see it. What evidence is there of this?

              • April 13th 2018 @ 8:43am
                jameswm said | April 13th 2018 @ 8:43am | ! Report

                It IS ameliorated. It’s just a question of whether it is sufficiently ameliorated.

                It’s like comparing Hooper with Pocock. No one doubts Pocock is stronger over the ball, but then no one doubts Hooper is a better ball runner. They are different types of defenders, and play in different parts of the field. Problem is they’re our two best forwards, and can we fit them both in our starting pack?

                Phipps’ passing isn’t as bad as many make out and as I said I’d have others ahead of him. You can’t base his worth on one error.

                As for Fardy – well, we’ll have to agree to disagree on that. Scrum is not an issue as he’s a flanker. And he’s maybe marginally better than say Dempsey in the lineout, but Dempsey kills him in ball running.

                I have a few non-negotiables when picking Wallaby forwards – and ball running and strength in contact are 2 of them.

              • April 13th 2018 @ 8:55am
                Fionn said | April 13th 2018 @ 8:55am | ! Report

                I don’t agree. You can’t pick a halfback based on his ability to run or cover tackle. He has to be able to do the basics of his position first. Hooper vs Pocock is a totally different issue to me, as Hooper doesn’t have the horrendous brain snaps in a key decision making position. Not just one error, as I said, Phipps’ performance off the bench Ben England was unforgivable, and it just continued his previous form, especially vs England (the June series vs England he was shocking).

                Dempsey is a better ball-runner, sure, but he is considerably worse in the line out (Fardy was essentially a third lock) and far, far worse at the breakdown, which we have sucked at for years. I’m not against Dempsey being preferred but the bloke is made of glass, and we still need another good line out target with him – he’s something like 191cm and nothing like Péter O’Mahony in the line out. He needs to stay injury free and consistently play well before we consider him the starting 6 – I think he is very much on the small side for a 6 also, only just big enough, but that’s fine if he stays injury free and plays well consistently. Which he has never done.

                I don’t know, I feel like being able to contribute in the key areas of contest should be the first non-negotiable: props that can scrimmage (bye Robertson), locks that can take line out ball well (bye Skelton, Douglas) and forwards that contribute at the breakdown (Tui doesn’t start until he improves this). It isn’t league when you just have to run, you have to win and retain the ball too.

              • Roar Guru

                April 13th 2018 @ 9:39am
                PeterK said | April 13th 2018 @ 9:39am | ! Report

                I much prefer Fardy over Dempsey in a balanced forwards back.

                01 Alaalatou
                02 TPN
                03 Kepu
                04 Coleman
                05 Rodda
                06 Fardy
                07 Pocock
                08 Timu

                16 Ulese
                17 Sio
                18 Tupou
                19 Tui
                20 Hooper

                You have easily enough powerful ball carriers so that it doesn’t matter as much that this is not Fardy’s strength.
                You have a very strong lineout
                Very good at the breakdown with Pocock, Fardy, Ulese

                Dempsey relies too much on footwork and nimbleness rather than power and in tight will be found out.

              • April 13th 2018 @ 9:57pm
                Dahl said | April 13th 2018 @ 9:57pm | ! Report

                Best pack I’ve seen in recent years for the wallabies PeterK.

              • April 13th 2018 @ 10:26am
                Puff said | April 13th 2018 @ 10:26am | ! Report

                Fionn, To be frank, Cheika is like the weather and has never taken any notice of unsolicited criticism and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Michael and his support team are cognizant of who is out there, how they are travelling, availability and who is ready for the next level. He has always been conservative in selections, positional play, tactics and I don’t see that changing. The first test against Ireland will answer many questions and may unravel all that. As the fact remains, the RA, Raelene Castles and the inner sanctum need the Wallabies to start show-casing the game. Cheika would be very aware that the Irish will need to depart disgruntled.

              • April 13th 2018 @ 10:59am
                Crash Ball2 said | April 13th 2018 @ 10:59am | ! Report

                Great pack PK.

              • April 13th 2018 @ 11:04am
                Fionn said | April 13th 2018 @ 11:04am | ! Report

                Nick Bishop still seems to think that Simmons is the the best locking partner for Coleman, which I find interesting.

              • Roar Guru

                April 13th 2018 @ 11:12am
                jeznez said | April 13th 2018 @ 11:12am | ! Report

                Jim – I think the halfback’s pass is non-negotiable and the comparison to open side flank is not the same.

                If the halfback’s pass is off then the pressure on the 10 is increased and pressure across the backline tends to increase with each player that hands it on.

                My teams (as a player and a coach) always played/play under the adage that “You don’t shovel sh!+”

                If you have bad ball then take it straight up and allow a recycle so we can reset.

                Phipps pass in the last couple of years has improved and really only tends to fall to pieces when tired. I expect he’ll be low on fitness comeing into the squad mid-season so there is every chance he’ll be playing tired while he comes up to speed which will see pressure on his pass in the next few games.

                This will of course allow those who dislike him to point out that they are right and he can’t pass.

                Cheika definitely missed a trick not doing more to blood an alternate last year. I think between Ruru, Tuttle, Gordon, Powell and Phipps the back up is there. If we take three halfbacks to the WC in 2019 which of the group above make the back up to Genia?

                Which three make it if Genia suffers an injury?

              • April 13th 2018 @ 11:45am
                Steiner said | April 13th 2018 @ 11:45am | ! Report

                Agree and good points Jeznez. I suspect Phipps Gordon and Powell would be the backups in that situation. All 3 seem to be the type of high octane halfback Cheika prefers for his game plan.

              • April 13th 2018 @ 11:12am
                jameswm said | April 13th 2018 @ 11:12am | ! Report

                PK I thought Arnold outplayed Rodda last weekend, but Arnold is not as consistent.

                I don’t agree with Fardy but I have no obvious alternative (assuming no Pooper).

              • April 13th 2018 @ 11:14am
                Fionn said | April 13th 2018 @ 11:14am | ! Report

                I think Arnold is a better bench impact player than Rodda or Tui even. He is inconsistent over 80min but can put in a very good shift off the bench.

              • April 13th 2018 @ 12:06pm
                Steiner said | April 13th 2018 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

                Agree Fionn Rodda has been very consistent so far and for the WBs Arnold’s best work has come off the bench. I would also keep an eye on some of the Rebs forwards like RHP and Matt Philips.

              • April 13th 2018 @ 11:50am
                Fionn said | April 13th 2018 @ 11:50am | ! Report

                Where has all the love for Ruru gone? He is a unit with a good pass, good decision-making, strong defence, decent kicking game and decent strength through contact. Not a flashy player per se, but he is proficient at everything.

              • Roar Guru

                April 13th 2018 @ 12:07pm
                jeznez said | April 13th 2018 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

                Fionn, Ruru was the first player I named in the list of back ups to Genia

              • April 13th 2018 @ 12:11pm
                Fionn said | April 13th 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

                I get it that you named him, mate, but he has totally gone out of most of the discussion for backup halfback. I guess it is due to his limited game time. All the emphasis is on Gordon, Phipps and Powell. I would have Ruru before any of them, and probably Gordon as the next guy at this stage.

              • Roar Guru

                April 13th 2018 @ 12:51pm
                jeznez said | April 13th 2018 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

                I’d like to see what he can do.

                However the further we get into the WC cycle the harder it will be for a player to force their way in to the squad.

                And as you point out he is getting limited game time so it will be hard for him to put up the types of performances that would see him demand selection.

                It is quite obvious that Cheika will take Genia and Phipps as his first two. The third spot is up in the air.

            • April 13th 2018 @ 11:26am
              Crash Ball2 said | April 13th 2018 @ 11:26am | ! Report

              Fardy is underrated. He was, by the length of the Nullarbor, the form blindside flanker of the 2017 Super Rugby competition. He is not a dominant tackler (which is a big drawback from a Joe Public general perception perspective) but is incredibly effective post-collision: abrasive in the tight, with strong leverage and technique in the mauls and upfront clash and outstanding on the deck. Fardy is an excellent lineout jumper and strong scrummager and a decent link player.

              Where the argument really falls down is in the players Cheika then preferred to Fardy – Mumm and Hanigan. Neither is strong in collisions (watching Etzebeth absent mindedly, one handedly ragdoll Ned in a post-play scuffle was as embarrassing as it was illustrative), and the most one could hope for is one additional long legged giraffe run in the tramlines per match from Mumm, and a whole pile of ambition with zero impact from Hanigan. Fardy was ostracised for reasons other than rugby ability. Along with a host of other eye-watering decisions, Cheika wears that squarely.

            • April 13th 2018 @ 1:05pm
              shooshiner said | April 13th 2018 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

              ^ Oh dear . This bloke again .jameswm. The Sydney Centric Cheika sycophants raise their heads again.They don’t give a toss about the Wallabies, as long as NSW rules the Wallabies all is good.Waiting for CP, JohnR to pipe up soon.

            • April 13th 2018 @ 1:22pm
              shooshiner said | April 13th 2018 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

              jameswm ,

              You seem to make up a lot of excuses for Michael Cheika mate.You are quick to call out certain players for being hopeless ,cant run, aren’t fit, slow and overated.I reckon you should scrap what you`ve said and stop being so negative.

              The Coach who for a FACT has taken this team backwards in 4 years is one of the main problems followed by 10 7 and 15 continually selected. EG : You call out Phipps for his inconsistent passing ( a fundamental skill all scrumhalves need) but then say ” but he is the fittest guy there, a good cover defender, and the quickest to the breakdown “

            • April 13th 2018 @ 2:27pm
              Steiner said | April 13th 2018 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

              Not meant to be an anti-Tahs rant at all Jameswm. Some recurring frustration around Cheikas tactics and selections as per just about every other previous WB coach. Sorry you took it that way.

              • April 14th 2018 @ 11:50am
                Ok go said | April 14th 2018 @ 11:50am | ! Report

                I think we all need to be honest. The Wallabies has been dominated by a core group of Tahs for a few years now. The coach is a Tah which is no problem. He has favourites who are undropable while all other positions are severely scrutinised to adhere to his ‘vision’. Still no problem. The problem lies with the extreme and rigid course of action Cheika has chosen. We’re going backwards faster than ever. The favourites he has chosen are no longer the right favourites needed for success. Quality players are leaving or taking sabbaticals (of course lack of confidence in the Wallabies has no bearing on this). What he has done would be fine if it worked. It’s gone bad and there’s been so much time to rectify the situation. Any other coach around the world would make Pocock captain and base the forwards around him. Next you pick Genia in the backs. This needs to go along with the correct 10,12,15 combo. I’m not convinced Foley is our best option but he’s the only one given an honest chance in 4 years. Quades chances came when Cheika experimented with the side across mulitple positions, not an honest chance. Foley has all the attributes but in limited stock but he’s got loads of ticker. We don’t have a stand out gun at 10 so we need a solid reliable play maker to safely and calmly guide us around. Need a gun boot, length and accuracy. People say Beale can’t be 10 because he’s been tried before and failed but he’s a far better player now. We should base the entire backline around Beale. You put him at 10 or 12 and he would deliver but he would make the biggest difference to the side at 15. I love Izzy but want to see him be the best finisher, his true strength. Beale coming in a 3 on 3 attack with Kuridrani and Folau/koroibete as options, he’s going to create more havoc than we have in a long time. 12 should be a strong defender with an ability to utilise our strong ball runners effectively. My backline
                9 Genia
                10 Toomua/CLL
                11 Koroibete
                12 Hodge
                13 Kuridrani/Kerevi
                14 Folua
                15 Beale
                Beale and Hodge could be interchanged and it would still be an effective and balanced backline. The wingers are guns and to utilise them correctly we need to use the ball correctly to make ground without turning it over. Quality kicking options across the backline provides much more opportunity to get out of trouble and attacking kicks. Beale at 15 is important I believe. Beale will chime in for quality touches and really make our attackimg raids out wide far more threatening. He played 15 against Scotland at the last WC and was the reason we weren’t easily accounted for. He’s such a class player. Because he has a different role at the Tahs

              • April 15th 2018 @ 7:59am
                Steiner said | April 15th 2018 @ 7:59am | ! Report

                Great post ok! Thanks

          • April 13th 2018 @ 8:32am
            Steiner said | April 13th 2018 @ 8:32am | ! Report

            Suggest you read the context in each question Riddler. Some possible solutions are mentioned that you may not agree with but thanks for the feedback👍

            • April 13th 2018 @ 10:58am
              Perthstayer said | April 13th 2018 @ 10:58am | ! Report

              Steiner – should’ve made SOLUTIONS IN BOLD. Never imply, leaves too much room for agenda translation.

              • April 15th 2018 @ 8:00am
                Steiner said | April 15th 2018 @ 8:00am | ! Report

                😊Got it thanks PS👍

        • April 13th 2018 @ 7:57am
          John said | April 13th 2018 @ 7:57am | ! Report

          There are plenty of solutions offered on this site over the past few years

          – stop picking Hanigan
          – stop turning away Toomua, Luke Jones, McMahon, etc
          – teach players to lock effectively
          – select from outside the Waratahs

          • April 13th 2018 @ 9:06am
            Jacko said | April 13th 2018 @ 9:06am | ! Report

            A common suggestion is get rid of the Coach

        • April 13th 2018 @ 10:28am
          Steiner said | April 13th 2018 @ 10:28am | ! Report

          So are the questions therefore invalid Tsuru? Have they been answered or if not maybe that’s why they’ve been hanging around for 3 years?

          • Roar Rookie

            April 13th 2018 @ 12:03pm
            tsuru said | April 13th 2018 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

            I’d just say that there is nothing in the comments above, in the 7 hours since I posted my comment, that I haven’t read a few times in the last 3 years. We could at least hope for a couple of new solutions. I feel we need to focus on what is happening now on the field, see what Cheika makes of that, and then comment.

            • April 13th 2018 @ 12:12pm
              Fionn said | April 13th 2018 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

              Tsuru, I think the question needs to be what happens if Folau walks out on rugby, which is looking like a question that really needs to be considered.

              • Roar Rookie

                April 13th 2018 @ 11:45pm
                tsuru said | April 13th 2018 @ 11:45pm | ! Report

                Yep, Fionn. Now there’s a question I haven’t been reading here for the last 3 years. And a good one. I certainly don’t have an immediate, viable solution, but if it happens we should look at the performances of DHP, Hodge, Maddocks, et al, and figure out a way to have an effective back 3 without Folau. It would be a shame to lose him just when the Tahs have implemented a tactic that uses his skills best.

            • April 14th 2018 @ 3:02am
              Steiner said | April 14th 2018 @ 3:02am | ! Report

              Feel free to write your own original material then Tsuru. Look forward to it👍

      • April 13th 2018 @ 10:26am
        Steiner said | April 13th 2018 @ 10:26am | ! Report

        Cheers John glad you enjoyed it!

    • April 13th 2018 @ 4:45am
      Manic said | April 13th 2018 @ 4:45am | ! Report

      Always has a disliking for Hooper! He is a pompous little s$&t! Hooper on the pine! Pocock to lead and see art at 7!

    • Roar Guru

      April 13th 2018 @ 5:18am
      Machpants said | April 13th 2018 @ 5:18am | ! Report

      The sarcasm in me gives these answers from Mr Cheika:

      Q1: Genia and Foley, no other halves required – even in the matchday 23
      Q2: Pooper with hanigan
      Q3: Fullback and nothing but fullback, no other fullback even in the entire squad
      Q4: Never, ever, ever kick – unless it is Foley ‘clearing’ the goal line – making it an opposition lineout on the 22
      Q5: Innovate is another name for move- defensive positions will rotate based on time of day, minutes of the match left and colour of players underwear.

      • April 13th 2018 @ 7:02am
        Canetragic said | April 13th 2018 @ 7:02am | ! Report

        Q5 Move. Ha – it’s kind of like a square dance isn’t it? Maybe Cheiks is a closet fan of boot scooting 😆

      • April 13th 2018 @ 9:02am
        Red Block said | April 13th 2018 @ 9:02am | ! Report

        I’d be laughing if this wasn’t true.

      • April 13th 2018 @ 7:44pm
        MrK said | April 13th 2018 @ 7:44pm | ! Report

        Too funny. Also accurate. In fact so accurate, I’ve finally been moved to leave my first comment after 3 years of just reading.

        (Even though I like to believe that Chieka is just playing a master bluff and is going to surprise us all)

    • April 13th 2018 @ 6:51am
      Jones said | April 13th 2018 @ 6:51am | ! Report

      Pocock 2 games back, he was out played by Hooper in the first, good game in his second match, hardly imperious form. Who says pocock is a great leader, not brumbies management otherwise they may have made pocock captain in 2016 and 2018.
      You are entitled to your opinion but it doesn’t make it right. I would pick Hooper any day over pocock who has such a limited game. Hooper’s influences on a game is so massive, he is constantly forcing errors from opponents.
      And can contribute in so many ways.
      Everything is exaggerated about pocock, 3 years ago he was 104kgs then he was published on brumbies site as 115kgs now he’s back to 103kg .
      Having said that if pocock can be consistent this year leading up to June tests I’d still have him in my Wallaby back row with Hooper, there simply is no one else that should be ahead of either.

      • April 13th 2018 @ 8:06am
        Fionn said | April 13th 2018 @ 8:06am | ! Report

        Sorry, but Pocock outplayed Hooper in his first match back, and in a losing team.

        Hooper forces a lot of errors with dominant tackles, but he also misses a lot of tackles, doesn’t force errors at the breakdown by doing the tight forward stuff like Pocock and collects more yellow cards in internationals than any other player, and is an inferior link man to Pocock as he passes more rarely and runs too wide.

        Both good players, but if Hooper wasn’t playing for NSW, or if Pocock was playing for NSW, we wouldn’t have to endure people saying Hooper is superior. It is like the ‘rivalry’ between Waugh and Smith. The latter was a legendary Wallaby and one of our greatest ever, the former was a good SR player and decent Wallaby who couldn’t hold a candle to Smith, but who played for NSW.

        Hooper’s very unlucky to ply in the same position as our best player.

        • April 13th 2018 @ 8:18am
          jameswm said | April 13th 2018 @ 8:18am | ! Report

          Hooper’s missed tackle stats are misleading. He misses tackles when he rushes up at the front. The attacker steps him and is bundled up by the next defender just behind him. It might go down on the stat sheet as a miss, but in reality his team has tackled the guy well behind the ad line. It’s what he’s supposed to do.

          • April 13th 2018 @ 8:21am
            Fionn said | April 13th 2018 @ 8:21am | ! Report

            Maybe, but I’ve also seen him make some bad, bad misses. I have visions of I think Aaron Smith making him trip over his own feet when he gets the ball from a 5m scrum last year – maybe in Bled 2? Regardless, he often goes in for the dominant hit and gets it wrong – it’s inevitable when you go in for dominant tackles as opposed to just getting the guy, you sometimes get it wrong.

            • April 13th 2018 @ 2:35pm
              Defence said | April 13th 2018 @ 2:35pm | ! Report

              But, never ever make a great tackle that saves a try or knocks the ball loose. Wonderful, one eyed view of the world according to Fionn. Of course, we all know Pocock never makes a mistake. That must be what confuses Folau – god is supposed to be in heaven condemning gays to hell; not playing for the Brumbies! No wonder Folau makes such bizarre tweets!

              • April 13th 2018 @ 7:53pm
                Fionn said | April 13th 2018 @ 7:53pm | ! Report

                I never said he didn’t make great tackles? In fact, if you read my comments I say that he does make a lot of dominant hits.

          • April 13th 2018 @ 11:10am
            Crash Ball2 said | April 13th 2018 @ 11:10am | ! Report

            It’s disingenuous to attempt to portray Hooper’s misses as quasi-successes. They certainly aren’t all made when missing a rushed tackle in front of the gain line. Hooper has fantastic technique and, when he gets the timing right, he executes exceptional front on collisions (which Fox Sports likes to then replay a dozen times whilst reeling out the superlatives in embarrassing regularity). But he gets it wrong an awful lot. A mid-70% tackle effectiveness combined with the second highest number of ineffective tackles across the entire Super Rugby competition (that includes all teams and all players) speaks to this reality. Hooper was also made the 2nd highest ineffective tackles at the completion of the 2018 season (despite the Tahs not making the finals) and last year’s four embarrassing bump offs in the Rugby Championship test against the Pumas (twice by the second five) was far from a one-off bad day at the office. Hooper is undoubtedly gutsy. But he is far from a rock in defence.

          • April 15th 2018 @ 8:04am
            Steiner said | April 15th 2018 @ 8:04am | ! Report

            Maybe Jameswm. But it is high risk play and leaves holes in the defence. Another reason I am not a fan of Grays shooter system

        • April 13th 2018 @ 9:59am
          Fin said | April 13th 2018 @ 9:59am | ! Report

          “Both good players, but if Hooper wasn’t playing for NSW, or if Pocock was playing for NSW, we wouldn’t have to endure people saying Hooper is superior”

          Yes we would, they would just be different people.

          • April 13th 2018 @ 10:11am
            Fionn said | April 13th 2018 @ 10:11am | ! Report

            I don’t think so, mate. Hooper vs Gill would have been the debate if Hooper didn’t play for NSW.

            Like Waugh vs Smith, history will demonstrate Hooper and Pocock are pin fundamentally different tiers in terms of their level.

            • Roar Guru

              April 13th 2018 @ 10:15am
              PeterK said | April 13th 2018 @ 10:15am | ! Report

              You mean Hooper vs Gill for a bench spot behind Pocock?

              • April 13th 2018 @ 10:36am
                Fionn said | April 13th 2018 @ 10:36am | ! Report

                Yeah, I mean the debate would have been on who was the second best 7 in Aus behind Pocock.

              • April 13th 2018 @ 10:47am
                Bib said | April 13th 2018 @ 10:47am | ! Report

                I like Gill much more as a 7 than Hooper, but I would still probably have him in the bench spot. He adds a point of difference in the last 20.

                If Pocock was injured I would have Gill start.

              • April 13th 2018 @ 10:57am
                Fionn said | April 13th 2018 @ 10:57am | ! Report

                Bib, I guess the discussion in 2013 and 14 was who was going to be the starting 7 given Pocock’s injuries.

      • Roar Rookie

        April 13th 2018 @ 2:45pm
        piru said | April 13th 2018 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

        I would pick Hooper any day over pocock who has such a limited game. Hooper’s influences on a game is so massive, he is constantly forcing errors from opponents.

        You are entitled to your opinion but it doesn’t make it right.


    • April 13th 2018 @ 7:01am
      Daveski said | April 13th 2018 @ 7:01am | ! Report

      There’s some valid questions in here but and maybe this was deliberate, the tone of the art ticket didn’t sit well with me.

      Also by Alex Mafi do you mean Amanaki Mafi and if so I am pretty sure he was never part of the Tahs set up. I believe he’s been in Japan since a late teenager and is married to a Japanese girl.

      People like to blame Cheika for everything and some claim he was behind the grassy knoll and also green lights all Meriton and Mirvac developments in Sydney.

      • April 13th 2018 @ 8:08am
        Fionn said | April 13th 2018 @ 8:08am | ! Report

        What do people blame Cheika for that he isn’t responsible for?

        • April 13th 2018 @ 8:18am
          jameswm said | April 13th 2018 @ 8:18am | ! Report

          Maybe Amanaki Mafi playing for Japan?

          • April 13th 2018 @ 8:23am
            Fionn said | April 13th 2018 @ 8:23am | ! Report

            That one did make me chuckle.

            At the same time, however, he has avoided criticism for Michael Ala’alatoa playing for the Crusaders and likely being a future All Black THP, so it evens out.

            • April 13th 2018 @ 8:36am
              jameswm said | April 13th 2018 @ 8:36am | ! Report

              Yeah I blame Cheika for the Tahs losing Lopeti Timani and Coleman – I’d forgotten about Mick Ala’alatoa. And Allan too. But the Tahs can’t sign everyone, and don’t have a crystal ball to tell them who will end up the best.

              • April 13th 2018 @ 11:13am
                Markus said | April 13th 2018 @ 11:13am | ! Report

                And Scott Sio before both the Ala’alatoas. They repeatedly passed on some of the strongest Aus U20s props in favour of Sydney Uni players – Jeremy Tilse, then Paddy Ryan, now Tom Robertson

                They may not have a crystal ball, but surely they have eyes.

            • Roar Guru

              April 13th 2018 @ 9:44am
              PeterK said | April 13th 2018 @ 9:44am | ! Report

              also blaming Cheika for Cooper not playing for the rebels or brumbies.

              That is the QRU’s fault for not doing a salary split deal, and maybe RA’s for not putting more pressure on the QRU.

              • April 13th 2018 @ 9:52am
                Steiner said | April 13th 2018 @ 9:52am | ! Report

                I just think there is an inconsistency there when you consider the incentives provided for Genia, Beale, Horwill and Douglas when Cheika wanted them back from overseas and spots were found. No doubt though that franchises need to play their part but isn’t this part of the alignment project the Wallabies coaching staff are talking about?

              • Roar Guru

                April 13th 2018 @ 9:55am
                PeterK said | April 13th 2018 @ 9:55am | ! Report

                Cheika talked QC to come back and the reds signed him for 3 years. Cheika I am sure approved the big ARU top up for Cooper to get him back.

                He can’t do more than that.

                Thorn is the one who kicked him out when it was too late to sign elsewhere and QRU not letting him play for the rebels or brumbies.

              • April 13th 2018 @ 10:11am
                Steiner said | April 13th 2018 @ 10:11am | ! Report

                As I said in tha article PK seems like a waste of resources to me. And if I was MC I’d be using his not insignificant influence with RA to try and fix it. As has been done for other players.

              • Roar Guru

                April 13th 2018 @ 10:17am
                PeterK said | April 13th 2018 @ 10:17am | ! Report

                Steiner – RA can’t force the QRU to release Cooper

                From what I know Cheika has agitated that Cooper be found a spot at another team but QRU won’t play ball.

              • April 13th 2018 @ 10:36am
                Steiner said | April 13th 2018 @ 10:36am | ! Report

                Ok thanks PK. Guess this is one of the pitfalls of non-centralised contracting. Seems to me RA won’t be helping their cause in trying to get players back from os if they can’t assure them a Super franchise to play for during their contract?

              • April 13th 2018 @ 10:38am
                Tuc Du Nard said | April 13th 2018 @ 10:38am | ! Report

                It’s obvious both Thorn and Cheika don’t want QC.
                Move on. Or if what should happen is…
                If Brumbies feel he fits with their culture, IMO that’s an option.
                Fionn, your thoughts on a Brumbies QC coup?

              • April 13th 2018 @ 10:59am
                Fionn said | April 13th 2018 @ 10:59am | ! Report

                I would rather we get Toomua back, but that won’t happen. Godwin is leaving and has done nothing while at the Brumbies and I haven’t see much from Hawera in 2 years other than his excellent long range goal-kicking vs the Sharks.

                I’d have Quade for the remained of his contract with a look to getting Toomua back and bringing through Mack Hansen.

          • April 13th 2018 @ 8:37am
            Steiner said | April 13th 2018 @ 8:37am | ! Report

            Yes fair cop wrong Mafi! There is a level of personal frustration in this article though. Mainly around the last 2 questions from my POV.

            • April 13th 2018 @ 9:31am
              Celtic334 said | April 13th 2018 @ 9:31am | ! Report

              Ino its an opinion article but you just can’t run your mouth without getting the facts right. I don’t agree with a lot of what you put, but thats your opinion and fair enough but saying things like Mafi etc just makes it all seem a little uneducated on the topic.

              Looking forward to reading your next one as its clear you have passion and always willing to get another perspective

    , ,