Could the Wallabies be bringing some genuine form into the Ireland series?

Brett McKay Columnist

By Brett McKay, Brett McKay is a Roar Expert

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    Form is fickle beast in sport; we all know that. The difference between having it and losing it, or not having it and regaining it can often come down to one moment.

    A great pass, a poor kick, a well-timed shot, a wrong decision, a deadly radar, an outright shank, the right moment to accelerate. The margins for error are huge, and the battle to regain lost form is mostly mental, but fickleness or not, one point remains clear in rugby as it does in all sporting pursuits: ‘form’ is the foundation for playing the way you want to play.

    Though there were no great surprises in the Wallabies squad Michael Cheika read out last Wednesday night – the Pete Samu episode aside – there is a very different feel about the Wallabies heading into this June series against Ireland.

    Last year’s June squad had a very experimental feel about it; players out injured, or retired, and even on sabbatical, and in their place, a lot of promising young talent that was worth testing at International level. It’s certainly true that last year’s opponents – Fiji, Scotland, and Italy – allowed this approach, but the general feeling going through the three Tests was one of not really knowing what this Wallabies squad was trying to achieve.

    There were moments of brilliance, but also many moments of fist-into-the-desk frustration at missed opportunities and poor decisions – and the complete lack of discernible gameplan.

    Wallabies coach Michael Cheika

    Michael Cheika (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

    The squad this year has no real surprises in terms of playing personnel, and those personnel even give a pretty fair indication of the Wallabies’ likely approach to playing the Six Nations Champions, but the big difference this year – to me, at the very least – is that there’s a decent level of form among that playing group as selected.

    Competition for many places is genuine. Half the starting side probably picks itself, but the rest are far from clear. The starting tight five, the full backrow combination, outside centre and the back three make-up are all very open for debate that will be prosecuted in the forums and on social media, but hopefully decided on the training track this week in Brisbane. The bench selections are genuinely intriguing, and in maybe the best sign of all, some very deserving players will be wearing a suit on Saturday night.

    Twenty-five tries from the four Australian sides over the weekend is a healthy barometer of this upwardly-trending form line heading into the June Tests. Thirty tries in total were scored across those three games, and Australian sides were responsible for all but five of them.

    The Reds and Waratahs produced 15 of them in a derby game played like no others in recent memory. The three previous matches between Queensland and New South Wales had netted 14 tries collectively, with two of those three games were decided by just three points. ‘Dour’ is usually one of the first words used to describe these games, but this time it was nowhere to be seen.

    Samu Kerevi of the Reds (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

    The Rebels and Brumbies were good for three and seven, respectively, and the common denominator across the four sides was a desire to attack and a willingness to create opportunities. But in truth, this weekend was also the culmination in an improving set of fortunes across the four sides.

    Currently in Super Rugby, we’re averaging around 7.1 tries per game. The home side is still dominating, winning 61.6 per cent of games, and they’re also scoring 3.8 tries per game to the away side’s 3.3 tries per game.

    To the end of Round 16, the Waratahs are averaging 4.2 tries per game, the Rebels 3.8, the Brumbies 3.3, and the Reds 2.8 tries per game.

    But over the last three weeks, all four sides have hit their straps.

    The Waratahs have scored 17 tries in their last three games and are playing like a side who believes they won’t just be making up the numbers in the playoffs. The Rebels have scored nine from two games (they had the bye in Round 14) and are again finding tries out wide and from turnover as they were in their impressive start to the season.

    The Brumbies’ 15 tries in three weeks – including two weeks in South Africa – indicates a team that is finally coming to grips with the way they’ve been wanting to play all season, and the Reds’ 13 tries have come from a blossoming attack built on top of a bedrock of hard work and solid go-forward.

    Last year, amid all the experimentation and ‘we just want to have a look at him’ was an underlying concern about the fitness levels of the players, with some teams both figuratively and literally well off the pace needed.

    This year, it feels like there’s a much better connection between the national side and the Super Rugby teams. Even with the kerfuffle around the Brumbies not resting the ‘Wallaby three’ on Sunday, it feels like the Wallabies have a better handle on what’s going on at Super Rugby level, and that the Super Rugby coaches know what the Wallabies wanted ahead of this week’s first camp of the season.

    If that’s a lesson from last year, and even if that’s a product of the coaches’ dialog and the coordinated approach to rugby high performance, then that’s great from any angle you want to come at it.

    This current upward form line brings with it confidence of the individuals, and that confidence will produce competition for places within the squad. Outside centre is great example of this; Tevita Kuridrani is the incumbent no.13, and not that long ago, that might have been enough to hold his place for the first Test of a new year.

    I’ll be stunned if he does. Kuridrani’s tour of South Africa, and his performance on Sunday in Canberra represent his best rugby of 2018, but he’s not been nearly as impressive as Samu Kerevi or Curtis Rona this season. Of course, how Michael Cheika decides between Kerevi and Rona is a whole other debate.

    Curtis Rona

    Curtis Rona (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

    But the debate is as important as the competition for places, and the form and confidence that breeds it.

    It will all be needed to take on what may well be recognised as the best Ireland squad to ever tour Australia.

    Their showing throughout the Six Nations was exceptional, and that hard work and quality of performance has carried through Leinster’s PRO14 and Champions Cup success, as well as Munster reaching the semi-finals of both competitions. The two powerhouse sides account for 24 of the 32-man Ireland squad.

    Form will be crucial for the Wallabies, because Ireland will be bringing plenty of it themselves.

    Maybe even only a month ago, there would’ve been a high degree of nervousness among Wallabies coming into this series, but it feels like those nerves are dissipating over the recent showing of the Australian sides.

    Form is a fickle beast in rugby; we all know that. But maybe – just maybe – the Wallabies are bringing the best possible form into this Ireland series they can.

    Brett McKay
    Brett McKay

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

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    The Crowd Says (284)

    • Roar Guru

      June 5th 2018 @ 4:21am
      Corne Van Vuuren said | June 5th 2018 @ 4:21am | ! Report

      I think the Wallabies will hit early form Brett. The pieces and players are falling into place, the last couple of weeks suggest that.

      Some are the players are hitting top form.

      I think Folau will be tested by Ireland under the high ball, but we know his aerial ability, Folau will need to be more consistent than he has been this season, but he has shown he can.

      Genia will have to manage the ruck ball and be at his best, Murray will pose challenges.

      The Wallaby pack will need to keep the intensity and physicality up for 80 minutes, and Pocock will have to ensure the referee is informed of the Irish sealing the ball at the breakdown, otherwise he won’t have a fair shot at turnover.

      I am more confident of the Wallabies beating the Irish than I am of the Springboks beating thr English.

      • Roar Guru

        June 5th 2018 @ 4:59am
        Harry Jones said | June 5th 2018 @ 4:59am | ! Report

        BB

        What’s your best guess on Bok 23 for England 1?

        • Roar Guru

          June 5th 2018 @ 5:01am
          Harry Jones said | June 5th 2018 @ 5:01am | ! Report

          My best estimate is:

          Willie, Nkosi, Am, DdeA, Dyantyi, Pollard, Faf, Beast, Bongi, Trevor, RG, PSDT, Kolisi, JL du P, Thor. Chiliboy, Kitshoff, Wilco, Mostert (covers 4, 5, 7), Nizaam (6 or 8), someone small but I don’t know who, Elton, Gelant.

          • Roar Guru

            June 5th 2018 @ 5:52am
            Corne Van Vuuren said | June 5th 2018 @ 5:52am | ! Report

            Hell
            I sure hope Nkosi is not in the team, don’t rate him at all.

            15 Willie le Roux.
            14 Mapimpi
            13 Esterhuizen (yeah yeah I know)
            12 Pollard
            11 Dyanti
            10 Jantjies
            9 Faf
            8 Thor
            7 JL
            6 Kolisi
            5 PSDT
            4 RG
            3 wilco
            2 Bismarck
            1 Beast

            Kitshoff, Rallapele, Nyakane, Mostert, Mohoje, Steyn, Gelant, van Zyl

            • June 5th 2018 @ 6:31am
              Moa said | June 5th 2018 @ 6:31am | ! Report

              Thought Galant looked very tidy in the Welsh game.

            • Roar Guru

              June 5th 2018 @ 6:35am
              Harry Jones said | June 5th 2018 @ 6:35am | ! Report

              I do prefer Mapimpi

              But I think N’kosi has it

            • June 5th 2018 @ 6:58am
              Fionn said | June 5th 2018 @ 6:58am | ! Report

              1. Beast
              2. Bismarck
              3. Louw
              4. Snyman
              5. Mostert
              6. Kolisi
              7. Du Preez
              8. Vermuelen
              9. De Klerk
              10. Pollard
              11. Dyantyi
              12. Steyn
              13. Am
              14. Le Roux
              15. Gelant

              16. Chilliboy
              17. Kitshoff
              18. ???
              19. PSDT
              20. Notsche
              21. ???
              22. Jantjies
              23. Mapimpi

              I don’t seriously believe he can play Jantjies over Pollard at 10, do you?! Don’t you think PSDT coming back from the US may mean he’s on the bench for game 1? Jet lag.

              • Roar Guru

                June 5th 2018 @ 6:59am
                Harry Jones said | June 5th 2018 @ 6:59am | ! Report

                Fionn

                Bismarck is not going to play in England 1

                Pollard is definitely starting at 10

              • Roar Guru

                June 5th 2018 @ 7:30am
                Corne Van Vuuren said | June 5th 2018 @ 7:30am | ! Report

                I don’t know Fion, just a feeling we’ll see Pollard at 12, I know Esterhuizen and De Allende logically should be there, just a feeling

              • June 5th 2018 @ 7:43am
                Fionn said | June 5th 2018 @ 7:43am | ! Report

                Esterhuizen is a beast 🙂 I’d play him at 12 now that Frans isn’t going to be in the side.

              • Roar Guru

                June 5th 2018 @ 9:25am
                Harry Jones said | June 5th 2018 @ 9:25am | ! Report

                He was the only Bok player besides Kitshoff to enhance his Test credentials in DC.

              • June 5th 2018 @ 10:55am
                Fionn said | June 5th 2018 @ 10:55am | ! Report

                Can Gelant play on the wing?

              • Roar Guru

                June 5th 2018 @ 9:21pm
                Harry Jones said | June 5th 2018 @ 9:21pm | ! Report

                @Fionn

                Gelant can wing it, but he’s much better at 15

              • June 5th 2018 @ 6:41pm
                cuw said | June 5th 2018 @ 6:41pm | ! Report

                didnot see the match – BUT it seems WILLEMSE is out injured for at least 6 weeks.

                saffa under 20 will feel the loss.

              • June 5th 2018 @ 6:59pm
                cuw said | June 5th 2018 @ 6:59pm | ! Report

                @ Fionn said

                Can Gelant play on the wing?

                im sure he can – but from what i have seen of his style , doubt he will be a good winger.

                he is much like a DMAC but bigger.

            • June 5th 2018 @ 7:42am
              nickbrisbane said | June 5th 2018 @ 7:42am | ! Report

              Is Marx injured?

              • Roar Guru

                June 5th 2018 @ 8:22am
                Corne Van Vuuren said | June 5th 2018 @ 8:22am | ! Report

                Yes nick, out for the whole series

          • Roar Guru

            June 5th 2018 @ 5:15pm
            Fox said | June 5th 2018 @ 5:15pm | ! Report

            Well if the Barbarians can put 65 points on England what will SA do Harry? It might not be another 65 but I think England will struggle.

            • Roar Guru

              June 5th 2018 @ 5:27pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 5th 2018 @ 5:27pm | ! Report

              The Barbarians game was a shamble for England, but if you think that was a Test match against a fully fledged England, you are mistaken mate.
              England are probably the nation that is the least suited to play exhibition rugby and on paper, I would argue that the last Barbarians side are better than SA is on paper and they were perfectly suited to play exhibition rugby.

              • June 5th 2018 @ 5:35pm
                cuw said | June 5th 2018 @ 5:35pm | ! Report

                specially when Tuisova and Radrada join up with the FIJI 7S Team the following week and end up winning the England 7S leg.

                Radrada was man of the final – no less 😀

              • Roar Guru

                June 5th 2018 @ 5:58pm
                Fox said | June 5th 2018 @ 5:58pm | ! Report

                Sorry NV I disagree – the English press – and this time rightly so – murdered England for that horrendous defensive performance.

                I don’t care who you are NV, but a makeshift side coming together for an exhibition game and putting 65 points on a side that has only recently been playing in the 6 nations and ranked 3rd in the world is poor and speaks plenty about their mental state IMO.

                It is not that they lost – the Barbarians are often a very good side made up of world class players but not combinations, and can win or go close against anyone – but to have them put 65 points through your defence is rubbish for England and I disagree about your assessment of SA – I think they have plenty to prove this year – and have bought back guys from Europe like Bismark and co – I think they will very tough this year and especially at home for everyone.

                They are favourites to win the series for me.

              • June 5th 2018 @ 6:25pm
                cuw said | June 5th 2018 @ 6:25pm | ! Report

                @ Fox

                i have a feeling u did not watch the match?

                England played a young side missing 15 players involved in the AVIVA final.

                BaaBaas played as they are required to – attack from anywhere and everywhere.

                the 2 main deciding factors for me were:

                1 Baabaas had a nice Fijian backline – and Ash having played with Radrada and Tuisova.

                2 England had slow guys who were clearly not used to the helter-skelter rugger.

                what peeps need to remember is that an international TEST side will not adapt such a kamikaze style of play – i mean not even the French or the All Blacks !!!

              • Roar Guru

                June 5th 2018 @ 9:01pm
                Fox said | June 5th 2018 @ 9:01pm | ! Report

                Yeah watched the game and sure they were fresh blood in the side or inexperienced players but that was not the entire side EJ put out there. And they were still deemed good enough to play for England Barbarians or not.

                But i still think SA will surprise everyone this year. If I am wrong so be it.

            • Roar Guru

              June 5th 2018 @ 7:38pm
              Corne Van Vuuren said | June 5th 2018 @ 7:38pm | ! Report

              Cohesion worries me, when did the Boks actually train together? And how many times?

              • Roar Guru

                June 5th 2018 @ 11:16pm
                Harry Jones said | June 5th 2018 @ 11:16pm | ! Report

                Do they even know each other’s names?

        • June 5th 2018 @ 8:21am
          Joseph said | June 5th 2018 @ 8:21am | ! Report

          My prediction: Boks will beat Eng 3-0 in their series. IRE will beat the Wallabies 2-1

          • June 5th 2018 @ 1:07pm
            P2R2 said | June 5th 2018 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

            My prediction – Ireland 3-0 and England 2-1

          • Roar Rookie

            June 5th 2018 @ 3:25pm
            Kirky said | June 5th 2018 @ 3:25pm | ! Report

            If the Wallabies get their stuff together as they can, there’s no reason for them to fear the Irish as you shouldn’t fear any International side, but the Irish without a doubt will be looking for a clean sweep of the Wallabies and there’s no doubt they are very capable of doing just that as they are the top International side in the Northern Scene being at Number two in the World rankings and they are brilliantly Coached by one of the very best Coaches in rugby at the moment! ~ All that aside I cannot see any reason why if the Wallabies go into these games with confidence and do the job that they are no doubt capable of, it could be a very interesting series but the Irish are in the same situation you guys are, the need to win, front and foremost for both sides!

            Really looking forward to it!

            The England side are not playing that well and the Springboks will no doubt be up for it on their own patch, it should be an even contest, ~ Really looking forward to that Series also!

            The Kiwi and French series I would suspect will not be a given for the All Blacks, and the French as we all know they like to do the unpredictable and you never what game is going to be played by them!

            Theoretically the All Blacks should win at home, but it’s happened before by the French, they throw the tried and true methods out of the window and just play as only they know how and when they do, they’re very hard to beat!

            All three series will be great I’m sure, but my biggest fear is that the Referees take over and over administrate these games with cards and whatever else which will just spoil the scene for everybody!

            It’s all very well to say that rules/laws etc are there to be followed, but the are so complex these days that you only need to stray slightly over the norm and whatever it is you may have done, you will be carded thereby ruining any game will be a distinct possibility!

            The game nowadays is far too open to unpredictability by the Referee and all Ref’s have slightly different interpretations of just about every rule/law! ~ The Rules and laws these days make it almost too hard and certainly unpredictable!

            That’s the theory on winning and losing in my opinion, it all hinges on the Referee and how it’s adjudicated on the day, no doubt they will be the biggest influence on any outcome!

            • Roar Guru

              June 5th 2018 @ 4:46pm
              taylorman said | June 5th 2018 @ 4:46pm | ! Report

              Ill say, get ready for an even bigger ref moanfest.

            • June 5th 2018 @ 7:02pm
              Muzzo said | June 5th 2018 @ 7:02pm | ! Report

              Hi Kirky,
              The mate, the biggest thing Australia & NZ can do, is underestimate their opponents. As you say the Irish are now No.2 ranked in the world now, & as we Kiwi’s know, the Frogs can beat any team in world rugby on their day. I think both Cheika & Shag will be very aware of that, & will be prepared for the party.
              The Blokke, will be a different story, as I reckon if they can get away from that ridiculous Quota System, & select the best in their positions, available, then we will see a massive improvement in South African rugby. So, here’s hoping.

              • Roar Guru

                June 5th 2018 @ 7:40pm
                Corne Van Vuuren said | June 5th 2018 @ 7:40pm | ! Report

                Muzzo, quotas are here to stay mate, that isn’t going to change, priorities on representation is higher on the list than performance excellence

              • June 6th 2018 @ 6:34pm
                Muzzo said | June 6th 2018 @ 6:34pm | ! Report

                That’s so sad Corne, as it does really effect the way the team performs. Honestly, every country selects, the best player available, for their country. We have seen, over the last few seasons, far better players running around in Super Rugby & Currie Cup, than what has been in the Bokke jersey. Governments should not be involved in our game, as if that was the case, in NZ, there would be a revolution.

              • June 7th 2018 @ 8:54am
                P2R2 said | June 7th 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

                Have you not read and understood why the QUOTA exists??? its here to stay as Corne says in his post….its part of the architecture of SA rugby asper Government edicts…won’t change…

      • June 5th 2018 @ 7:55am
        nickbrisbane said | June 5th 2018 @ 7:55am | ! Report

        Who are the the referees for the three games and are the tests being shown on free to air?

        • June 5th 2018 @ 8:55am
          Ed said | June 5th 2018 @ 8:55am | ! Report

          Yes, on TEN.

          Refs:
          1st test: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
          2nd test: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
          3rd test: Pascal Gauzere (France)

      • June 5th 2018 @ 8:47am
        jameswm said | June 5th 2018 @ 8:47am | ! Report

        I don’t see Ireland peppering Folau with high balls. They’ll send them elsewhere. Pepper Folau with long kicks maybe, but if you want contestable box kicks, he’s not the one you kick to.

        • Roar Guru

          June 5th 2018 @ 11:51am
          PeterK said | June 5th 2018 @ 11:51am | ! Report

          also Ireland will counter the kick to Folau out wide by jumping early into Folau looking like you are contesting but in fact just stopping him catching, the other obvious method is to have a screen blocking standing far enough off the ball so he can’t jump at it but has to run around.

          • Roar Guru

            June 5th 2018 @ 1:07pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 5th 2018 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

            Agree. Folau’s strength in the air and his current form has been well telegraphed. Would be a massive surprise if Ireland kicked “gimmies” to Folau. And it is a big question mark if the Wallabies can put the kind of pressure on Ireland that would force them to panic kick (and thereby give Folau opportunities to fest on).

          • June 5th 2018 @ 1:40pm
            jameswm said | June 5th 2018 @ 1:40pm | ! Report

            PK the 2nd one works when Folau is chasing, but not if they’re kicking to him. We’ll see on the first though

            • June 5th 2018 @ 2:09pm
              cuw said | June 5th 2018 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

              i think in the REDS match a very good way to counter Folau’s running jump was seen – but was not successful perhaps becoz the opposite jumper was not tall and not a good jumper.

              when he scored the try at the half – the jumper went up a meter or so in front of where the ball will land.

              Folau jumped and had to reach in front to catch – and he managed to catch it due to the height he got in the jump. he was falling forwards as he caught it.

              had there been a taller RED with a better jump , he could have done enuf to harass Foalu into losing the ball.

              i doubt any ref will be willing to give a penalty or PT for such tactic. it look as all legal and fair contest for ball.

              quite a few AVIVA commentators have highlighted this tactic – where the jumpers dont go as high as the potential catcher , but manage to ” bump” the opponent , hard enuf to make it a difficult catch. all in the name of a ” fair contest ” 😀

          • Roar Guru

            June 5th 2018 @ 5:32pm
            Fox said | June 5th 2018 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

            Folau is not as good with the ball on the ground when it bounces and/or skids awkwardly and I suspect this is what Ireland will do.

            But Murray will still use his bomb and this will draw Folau out because Murray’s bomb is normally short and beautifully tucked in behind the pack or near the flanks if the scrum is near the line. This will nullify Folau’s effectiveness in the air and ability to run on if he catches it as it will be in traffic.

            Murrry’s bombs are his trade mark and he deliberately tries to catch the FB in two minds as to whether to come forward to take the high ball or not because if Ireland win the ball back quickly as they are good at doing, the Fullback can be caught miles out of position or they will hold the player up off the ground.

            However I expect some nasty grubber and low trajectory kicks the latter of which will prevent Folau from having the time to come forward and take the ball in the air. We shall see. But they will not base their entire kicking game around Folau ability in the air – there are other places and players to kick it to and anyway they have far too much variation in their kicking game and its accuracy to just worry about one player. It will be in the plan but not the entire plan.

            Expect some chips in behind the centres as well.

            • June 5th 2018 @ 5:43pm
              cuw said | June 5th 2018 @ 5:43pm | ! Report

              i wont be surprised if aussy go with Banks DHP and IF as their back 3.

              else they may play HOdge. also expect both Beale and Foley to drop back.

              perhaps we may see 4 guys in the backfield waiting to catch up-and-unders or box kicks.

              everyone has seen the game Leinster and Ireland play with Sexton and Murray.

              but i think irish will have a different kicking plan – to what has been seen at 6 Nations or Leinster.

            • June 5th 2018 @ 6:36pm
              Boomeranga said | June 5th 2018 @ 6:36pm | ! Report

              So bombs grubbers chips and low trajectory. Not ruling much out there.

        • June 5th 2018 @ 8:34pm
          Adsa said | June 5th 2018 @ 8:34pm | ! Report

          The Paddies will bomb Foley when he is on the wing in defence James. The Poms did it at Twickers last year and the tactic just kept giving. Just another reason why they should not play musical chairs in defence.

      • June 5th 2018 @ 10:50am
        Henry Bourke said | June 5th 2018 @ 10:50am | ! Report

        As an Irishman living in Sydney I fervently hope that you are right and the WBS “hit early form”. If they don’t Ireland could wipe the floor with them, I don’t say that lightly. I would have serious concerns about reading anything into recent SR performances, particularly the Tahs/Reds game. The ruck and ruck defence in that game will not serve as any type of preparation for the first Test. In fact, it’s likely it was counterproductive. I say that as an avid watcher of European rugby, particularly the pro 14 and the European Cup and 6N, put simply, Ireland may blow Aus away at the ruck in both defence and attack, the level of intensity brought to that part of the game by Ireland, Munster and Leinster during the entire NH season but particularly in the latter half of the season should make any team sit up and take note. I have no doubt Cheika will be all over it but replicating it in the few days training Aus have left or simply being mentally prepared for it is very very difficult. Worth noting that Ireland’s best players this season (Leavy 7 and Ryan 5) have been simply immense in this area, watch out for both of them, you’ll not be disappointed. Added to that is the uncapped Beirne. A second row or a 6, led the Pro 14 in turnovers (something crazy in the 30s). Just one further point about Folau and kicking it to him. No team in SR or indeed international rugby compete like Ireland do for a box kick and nobody is as good at the box kick than Murray. Watching Folau and some of the comments about his undoubted skill in that area I am always struck by the fact that no team does it properly. If you do it, the kick has to be perfect, there has to be a player in the air competing and one either side when the competing players land. Ireland do this every time and compete ferociously at the ruck often winning penalties from outnumbering the opposition at that ruck. In short, Folau may catch everything but if he isn’t supported by his teammates at the ensuing ruck it will spell trouble for Aus.

        • Roar Guru

          June 5th 2018 @ 1:53pm
          Ralph said | June 5th 2018 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

          Thems fighting words Henry and I’m loving it.

        • June 5th 2018 @ 6:21pm
          Morsie said | June 5th 2018 @ 6:21pm | ! Report

          The paddy’s are going to get flogged. Its going to be a long and painful flight home. 6 nations champs pft…….

          • June 5th 2018 @ 11:06pm
            David Ryan said | June 5th 2018 @ 11:06pm | ! Report

            Ehhh…also winners of 3 out of last 5 six nations…and beaten EVERY southern team – home and/or away in the last 20 months (except Aus at home…coming Saturday)

      • June 5th 2018 @ 1:29pm
        Noodles said | June 5th 2018 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

        I’m with Brett. All up, the WBs should be right in this. Though I’d emphasise that the form tight five has to show up. Ireland’s forwards need to be challenged for 80.
        13 is not just about three guys. Only one has solid defensive form at Test level, and that’s TK. I’d love to see Kerevi come good, but he’s still a worry at 13. Rona appeals as the default, but I’ve yet to see him as a strike weapon that the others offer.
        Finally, I really hope that the catch-pass skills that everyone else has improved this year is matched by better kicking and game awareness by Folau.

        • June 5th 2018 @ 2:22pm
          Nate said | June 5th 2018 @ 2:22pm | ! Report

          11 Rona
          12 Beale
          13 Kurindrani
          14 Haylett-Petty
          15 Folau
          22 Hodge
          23 Kerevi

          • June 5th 2018 @ 7:36pm
            Noodles said | June 5th 2018 @ 7:36pm | ! Report

            But for Rona I would not be surprised. I expect DHP on a wing for the cover he gives Folau and his street smarts. I expect the other wing to be Koroboite or maybe Hodge.
            What I like is that we’re getting depth and contested jobs. Except 9&10.

      • June 5th 2018 @ 8:25pm
        PiratesRugby said | June 5th 2018 @ 8:25pm | ! Report

        Why would Pocock have to inform the ref about the breakdown? He’s neither the captain nor the flanker.

    • Roar Guru

      June 5th 2018 @ 4:23am
      Kia Kaha said | June 5th 2018 @ 4:23am | ! Report

      Certainly on attack, they’ve looked handy, Brett. Which is why I’d be unwilling to change combinations that’ve been working of late.

      So Rona at 13 for me and Kerevi covering centre.

      It’s on defence where form can be called into question. Against a disciplined side like Ireland, they’re patient and effective enough on attack to retain ball until they sniff a chance or pull a planned move off.

      That’s the area that concerns me but in terms of scoring points, I agree with your premise that confidence is on the up and that should translate to vital points.

      • Roar Guru

        June 5th 2018 @ 4:44am
        Corne Van Vuuren said | June 5th 2018 @ 4:44am | ! Report

        Agree defence will have to be a focus, but I am sure Cheika knows that.

        • June 5th 2018 @ 6:17am
          John said | June 5th 2018 @ 6:17am | ! Report

          Easily fixed, eh?

          • Roar Guru

            June 5th 2018 @ 7:31am
            Corne Van Vuuren said | June 5th 2018 @ 7:31am | ! Report

            Defence is an attitude, so yeah, most of it can. 😉

            • Roar Guru

              June 5th 2018 @ 1:12pm
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 5th 2018 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

              On paper, there is a clear gulf in quality between the Wallabies and the Ireland pack. Sure if the Aussies bring it and the Irish somehow have forgotten their gritty side back home, there is a great chance for the Wallabies to win the series. But are you ready to bank on the Irish not being up for it?

              And if we talk confidence overall, the big core of Irish Leinster players have hardly lost a game the last year, and their combinations are settled and proven.

            • Roar Guru

              June 5th 2018 @ 1:54pm
              Ralph said | June 5th 2018 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

              A smidge of technique as well.

              Or else you compete ferociously, get pinged off the park, then blame the ref for your poor accuracy.

      • June 5th 2018 @ 9:39am
        Old One Eye said | June 5th 2018 @ 9:39am | ! Report

        Agree. Rona at 13. Might as well maintain the Tahs 10,12,13 combination, it has been pretty productive. Kerevi can cover 12 and 13. Genia is an unbackable favourite for 9. Back three of Folau, Banks/Maddocks and Hodge would be my preferred but no doubt Korebeti will be running on probably with Hodge. So Banks or Maddocks on the bench.

    • Roar Guru

      June 5th 2018 @ 4:40am
      Harry Jones said | June 5th 2018 @ 4:40am | ! Report

      Australia looks poised to have the best June series of all the RC nations, because:

      1/ NZ is so favoured, and yet so injured, with the Barretts trying to find their way, it will be difficult for the Kiwis to meet expectations against an already-written off France.
      2/ ARG is looking good at SR level, but Wales can be tricky in this kind of quick series.
      3/ SA will field a team with NO proven combination. All-new combos in front row (Beast-Bongi-Nyakane) locks (with EE and Lood out), loose trio, halves (Faf, meet Handre; Handre, meet Faf), midfield (DdeA plus Am), and back three.
      4/ Ireland has been doing what they are doing for a while now; much easier to game plan against. If Genia fires….

      • June 5th 2018 @ 6:12am
        Neil Back said | June 5th 2018 @ 6:12am | ! Report

        Really not sure why you keep talking England up and SA down for this tour Harry. Understand your point about new combos for the Boks but the English injury list is depressingly long once again offering similar uncertainties, they have zero form right now and they’re playing in your backyard. I’m hoping it’s an opportunity for both sides to learn some late lessons going into the RWC, although I hold out little prospect for it to change Eddie’s selection stubbornness.

        NZ’s pack looks weaker than it has for a while but the French are leaving some very wise pack heads of their own at home and I think that will show. The kiwi backs are as ever electric. Can’t see the French troubling them too much.

        Ireland are beatable but incredibly street smart. I can see the Wallabies nicking one but taking late Super Rugby form into a Test match is not a massive barometer.

        • June 5th 2018 @ 6:29am
          Moa said | June 5th 2018 @ 6:29am | ! Report

          Neil Back
          “Weaker” because Read is missing? If Retallick and Whitelock are fit…a big ‘if’ then the pack looks solid with the return of Franks and Moody.
          Without those two locks I think France will give us a hurry-up in the forwards.
          My biggest concern other than that is the lack of fluidity in a BB-led backline at set-piece in particular.
          From broken play, no concerns.

          • June 5th 2018 @ 8:11am
            Neil Back said | June 5th 2018 @ 8:11am | ! Report

            Yep, based on the possible fitness issues.

          • Roar Guru

            June 5th 2018 @ 1:18pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 5th 2018 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

            I say the AB’s have been extremely unlucky with injuries. Pretty much the only positions where the “number 2” is clear step behind the “number 1” has gone down injured.

            There is no like for like replacements for Coles, Retallick, Read, and SBW.

            The big upside is that the need to grow depth and replacements in these positions is urgent, so this French series gives a great opportunity to address one the few weaknesses in the All Blacks squad.

            • June 5th 2018 @ 1:26pm
              Fionn said | June 5th 2018 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

              Crotty is probably the best centre in New Zealand though. It is just a question of getting him and SBW onto the field at the same time. I also don’t think that Laumape is a big step down either.

              Replacing Retallick and Read is very difficult though…

              • Roar Guru

                June 5th 2018 @ 1:39pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 5th 2018 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

                I believe SBW would have been perfect against the French. He would have a fair chance to niggle Bastareaud and get the upper hand on the French midfield. Crotty is a very smart footballer, but when Bastareaud is on song it takes both smarts and force to tame him. Laumape will look like baby bull next to papa bull Bastareaud.

                Crotty and Goodhue would be my pick for Test one.

              • June 5th 2018 @ 1:41pm
                Fionn said | June 5th 2018 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

                I dunno, Crotty is a bit like Conrad Smith – he rarely misses tackles and god he runs some good lines. Regardless, I don’y see either being a large step down from SBW. All three are extremely good players.

                I like your centre combination Mr Neutral 🙂

              • Roar Guru

                June 5th 2018 @ 2:01pm
                Ralph said | June 5th 2018 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

                Crotty is out with concussion problems and Goodhue didn’t play last weekend either, has a hamstring issue that goes back to April (off and on).

                IF Crotty plays he will be seriously under cooked for game time and probably wouldn’t last 80 minutes.

              • Roar Guru

                June 5th 2018 @ 2:05pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 5th 2018 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

                @Fionn
                Goodhue has more of a jiu-jitsu kind of strength than Laumape, and that is the skill/strength needed for the small guy who wants to take down the big guy. I think Laumape defense at Test level is a bit suspect.

                @Ralph
                Hansen sounded positive that both will be in contention for selection. But Crotty is always a concern, he is just too reckless towards himself in the tackle. If the French bring it on Saturday and we will see some real Test rugby the chances are high he will be out before the 60-minute mark with another concussion.

              • June 5th 2018 @ 2:10pm
                Fionn said | June 5th 2018 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

                I haven’t seen enough of Laumape at test level to be certain, but I thought he did well against the BIL.

                The All Blacks website have him at over 100kg, so I don’t think he is too small by any means.

              • Roar Guru

                June 5th 2018 @ 2:54pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 5th 2018 @ 2:54pm | ! Report

                Small compared to Bastareaud.

              • Roar Guru

                June 5th 2018 @ 4:05pm
                taylorman said | June 5th 2018 @ 4:05pm | ! Report

                Who was absent onfield last time he toured here. Lets hope hes improved from the fat pudding of the last tour then.

              • Roar Guru

                June 5th 2018 @ 5:00pm
                The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 5th 2018 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

                He is the French captain this time around, so I reckon we will see a wee bit more of him.

              • June 5th 2018 @ 2:57pm
                Fionn said | June 5th 2018 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

                Most props are small compared to Bastareaud 😛

              • June 5th 2018 @ 5:13pm
                cuw said | June 5th 2018 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

                who plays for France is the thing to see.

                the coach has been on a warpath during the 6 nations .

                becoz he sacked Teddy – Fickou played on a wing in 6N.

                but Basta and Geoffrey Doumayrou of LaRochelle are a very nice pair.

                also note that Mach is injured and FTD is not in the squad either.

                Serin and Plisson are good but not in the same class i think.

                no Picamoles and the really big 2nd rowers also.

                but the flankers are all big guys – more or less 6s .

                no Vakatawa also …..

              • Roar Guru

                June 5th 2018 @ 5:45pm
                Fox said | June 5th 2018 @ 5:45pm | ! Report

                Crotty – Goodhue – Whitelock are declared fit to play – Retallick will be out for about 4 to six weeks they suspect depending on scans tomorrow (Wednesday) – it also has the chance of being season ending they said but they have to wait and see.

                AB assistant coach has said Neholo is running very quick at training and NMS is looking back to his best there too. He also said something interesting – that Reiko Ioane and Jordie Barrett can both play multiple positions in the backline Ioane 12-13 14 -11 – JB 12-13-15 and they are in the mix with his tone indicating the AB’s are confident they can play these roles at test level which is hardly surprising as they are both freakish young players.

                So depending upon how things go, it sounds like they may experiment a bit with SBW injured with an eye to the future beyond the next WC.

              • June 5th 2018 @ 7:09pm
                Muzzo said | June 5th 2018 @ 7:09pm | ! Report

                My personal selection would be Crotty at second five, & ALB at centre, but in truth it’s really in Shag we trust.

              • June 5th 2018 @ 7:15pm
                Muzzo said | June 5th 2018 @ 7:15pm | ! Report

                More So Brodie, Fionn, he will be the one that will be missed, especially with his known work rate. Read, yeh he’s good, but he has ATM, some good one’s breathing down his neck. I do like the look of Luke Whitelock, as he has been excellent, over the last few weeks. His work rate too, is right up there, but that’s only my opinion, & as usual, in Shag we trust.

              • Roar Guru

                June 5th 2018 @ 8:31pm
                taylorman said | June 5th 2018 @ 8:31pm | ! Report

                Im going for Laumape at 12, far more experience than Goodhue, and will handle Basteraud well enough who I think is overated. He doesnt play NZ well and will be thumped on the ball. He wont qet to be the big bulldog here. Theres no rule that says you have to match youre opposite for size and a lot of B’s is fat. Laumape may run rings around him.

            • Roar Guru

              June 5th 2018 @ 6:06pm
              Fox said | June 5th 2018 @ 6:06pm | ! Report

              NV NZ have plenty of depth in the centre as they all got game time last year on tour and performed well in black jersey.

              However, I agree Read and Retallick are very tough to replace – but I think Jordan Taufua has been outstanding at 8 for Crusaders this year – but Reads ability in air at lineout and kick off will be missed but they put Squire at 8 and Taufua at 6 where he normally plays.

        • Roar Guru

          June 5th 2018 @ 6:37am
          Harry Jones said | June 5th 2018 @ 6:37am | ! Report

          I’m not talking England up. I’m noting that SA has NO proven combos. Every combo is a first time. England has issues, but they’ll have tested combos at 9-10, second row, front row.

          • June 5th 2018 @ 8:10am
            Neil Back said | June 5th 2018 @ 8:10am | ! Report

            Fair enough. I took your comments to call an English series win. I think it’s the least predictable tour.

            • Roar Guru

              June 5th 2018 @ 9:27am
              Harry Jones said | June 5th 2018 @ 9:27am | ! Report

              Agree with that, Neil. Impossible to tip. Tests 1 and 2 could also big changes in the sides.

              • June 5th 2018 @ 11:28pm
                FunBus said | June 5th 2018 @ 11:28pm | ! Report

                The clincher for me, Harry, is first two tests at altitude. To take an example, Mako Vunipola has played 35 games since the first match of the Lions tour, virtually without a break, and now has to play his 36th and 37th at altitude. England looked knackered and off the pace in the 6 Nations which ended in March (rumours that Jones was beasting them in training). Since then all the players have been knocking the stuffing out of each other in the Aviva.
                Both the Boks and England have their issues, but I can see the Boks dominating the last 20 of the first two tests, and that’s often the difference in tight matches.

              • June 6th 2018 @ 7:44am
                Neil Back said | June 6th 2018 @ 7:44am | ! Report

                Last 20 has been an England strength in the past due to their bench. They won’t have that luxury this tour given the absentees.

      • June 5th 2018 @ 6:36am
        Kane said | June 5th 2018 @ 6:36am | ! Report

        I’ve got South Africa and New Zealand to win 3-0

        Ireland and Wales to win 2-1

        • Roar Guru

          June 5th 2018 @ 6:46am
          Derm McCrum said | June 5th 2018 @ 6:46am | ! Report

          France are 10/1 to win the first test. I had to have a punt on that.

          • June 5th 2018 @ 8:17am
            Neil Back said | June 5th 2018 @ 8:17am | ! Report

            I’d take that too given the AB’s often start these series slowly and the French could either surprise in the first Test or if it’s all gone to custard, throw caution to the wind in the last.

          • Roar Guru

            June 5th 2018 @ 11:58am
            Ralph said | June 5th 2018 @ 11:58am | ! Report

            10:1 – that’s ridiculous.

            • Roar Guru

              June 5th 2018 @ 4:07pm
              taylorman said | June 5th 2018 @ 4:07pm | ! Report

              Yes might take that myself! A two horse race thats out there alright. Wouldnt lose sleep after a loss with that bet on!

              • Roar Guru

                June 5th 2018 @ 8:56pm
                Kane said | June 5th 2018 @ 8:56pm | ! Report

                Hand in you supporters card please

              • Roar Guru

                June 6th 2018 @ 4:55am
                taylorman said | June 6th 2018 @ 4:55am | ! Report

                Hey Kane, I wouldnt be the first to take the money over the ABs losing. The north is full of them.😁

          • June 5th 2018 @ 5:13pm
            Jacko said | June 5th 2018 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

            It would be interesting to know when the last test side at 10:1 got up and paid…..!0 to 1 seems rather silly odds

            • Roar Guru

              June 5th 2018 @ 10:44pm
              Derm McCrum said | June 5th 2018 @ 10:44pm | ! Report

              Jacko. I put €25 on Ireland to win by 5+ against NZ at 25/1 in Chicago.

              It was a nice payday. 😃

              Maybe the France game will be another exhibition match with Retallick, Read, etc missing…..

              • Roar Guru

                June 5th 2018 @ 10:49pm
                Derm McCrum said | June 5th 2018 @ 10:49pm | ! Report

                Actually odds have moved to 12/1 for France and 13/1 to win by 1-12 points.

          • Roar Guru

            June 5th 2018 @ 5:48pm
            Fox said | June 5th 2018 @ 5:48pm | ! Report

            Don’t -most of their first choice players – or about 7 or 8 of them are not playing the first test as they are being rested because of being in finals the week before unless that has changed which is possible

      • June 5th 2018 @ 7:08am
        Cathal said | June 5th 2018 @ 7:08am | ! Report

        If Ireland were so easy to gameplan against they wouldn’t have won the Grand Slam and Leinster wouldn’t have won the Champions Cup with a 100% record. Think Wallabies fans will get a reality check this time next week about what’s coming their way.

        • June 5th 2018 @ 7:27am
          Fionn said | June 5th 2018 @ 7:27am | ! Report

          You do understand that most Australian fans on this site have been predicting an Irish series win?

          Does that mean our ‘reality check’ will be a Wallabies series win? I could handle that

          • June 5th 2018 @ 8:06am
            Cathal said | June 5th 2018 @ 8:06am | ! Report

            The thing I hate more than anything is BS, a month ago it was all about Ireland are going to do to the Wallabies and now it’s all super confident it seems. How does this work, the reality is Australia weren’t that bad then and aren’t his brilliant now, the reality is it’s a rusty Aussie vs a less fresh (not tired, don’t exaggerate) Ireland where it will be a close run series.

            • June 5th 2018 @ 8:13am
              Fionn said | June 5th 2018 @ 8:13am | ! Report

              ‘a month ago it was all about Ireland are going to do to the Wallabies and now it’s all super confident it seems’

              I don’t see any evidence whatsoever of Australian fans being ‘super confident’ whatsoever. Can you point to one post on this entire article that is ‘super confident’?

              • June 5th 2018 @ 8:46am
                Cathal said | June 5th 2018 @ 8:46am | ! Report

                “Australia looks poised to have the best June series of all the RC nations, “

              • June 5th 2018 @ 9:07am
                Daveski said | June 5th 2018 @ 9:07am | ! Report

                And he’s Sth African !

              • June 5th 2018 @ 8:51am
                jameswm said | June 5th 2018 @ 8:51am | ! Report

                So one person saying a lot of the Wallabies seem to have found form means all Wallaby supporters are overconfident?

                Nice sample size.

              • June 5th 2018 @ 9:17am
                Boomeranga said | June 5th 2018 @ 9:17am | ! Report

                And to quote Harry from Far Far Far West Perth at that.

              • Roar Guru

                June 5th 2018 @ 9:33am
                Machooka said | June 5th 2018 @ 9:33am | ! Report

                Cathal… the quote you’ve used could have read like this;

                ‘Australie lyk gereed om die beste June-reeks van al die RC-lande te he.’

                I hope I got it right…

                🙂

              • June 5th 2018 @ 10:12am
                Fionn said | June 5th 2018 @ 10:12am | ! Report

                Cathal, Harry Jones is a South African Springbok supporter.

                Can you please point to one Wallabies fan being ‘super confident’?

              • June 5th 2018 @ 1:36pm
                Connor33 said | June 5th 2018 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

                I think Cathal just got a reality check. Simple apology/acknowledgment and all is forgotten.

              • June 5th 2018 @ 6:19pm
                Cathal said | June 5th 2018 @ 6:19pm | ! Report

                Well that isn’t true but it’s all of ye against me which seems unfair so it’s best I just walk away.

              • June 5th 2018 @ 10:59pm
                Lets Fix It said | June 5th 2018 @ 10:59pm | ! Report

                Solid Cathal
                Irish faves for sure

              • Roar Guru

                June 5th 2018 @ 11:09pm
                Derm McCrum said | June 5th 2018 @ 11:09pm | ! Report

                Jeez. Talk about an unnecessary and unfounded chip.

              • June 5th 2018 @ 7:54pm
                Fionn said | June 5th 2018 @ 7:54pm | ! Report

                Cathal, none of us are against you. I just wanted you to substantiate your claim of Aussie confidence.

                I haven’t seen any Australian confidence. At most there has been limited optimism about our own players.

        • June 5th 2018 @ 7:39am
          Worlds Biggest said | June 5th 2018 @ 7:39am | ! Report

          Cathal most if not all Wallas fans know what’s coming mate. Ireland are ranked Number 2 for a reason. They’re a formidable team. If you have been reading these forums over the last few weeks, the majority are tipping Ireland to win the series. Us Wallaby fans obviously want our lads to be competitive, whether this late upswing in Super Rugby form translates to the next level remains to be seen.

        • Roar Guru

          June 5th 2018 @ 7:49am
          Machooka said | June 5th 2018 @ 7:49am | ! Report

          Yeah Cathal… what Fionn and Biggest said!

          • June 5th 2018 @ 8:52am
            jameswm said | June 5th 2018 @ 8:52am | ! Report

            To an extent. I’m by nature positive and optimistic. We have a lot of threats. Ireland will slow the ball, try to win scrum penalties, turn the lineout into a dockyard brawl, push the offside line in defence, try the choke tackles, come in the side to rucks etc. Are we good enough to handle and respond to it?

            • June 5th 2018 @ 9:05am
              Ed said | June 5th 2018 @ 9:05am | ! Report

              Are we good enough to handle a superior tactical kicking game?

              This is what will make this series interesting to watch. Will our one way to play rugby be too good for Ireland or if it is not working, do we have the smarts to change it on the pitch? Or is it “we just have to work harder?”

              • June 5th 2018 @ 10:49am
                jameswm said | June 5th 2018 @ 10:49am | ! Report

                Which is why we need Hodge in the back 3.

              • June 5th 2018 @ 11:24am
                Worlds Biggest said | June 5th 2018 @ 11:24am | ! Report

                Very good points Jameswm & Ed. Ireland are a very smart team and often take a grip of a game early and don’t let up. I have a few concerns with the Wallabies,
                1. lack of smarts / game management and no plan B.
                2. If plan A doesn’t work we are stuffed, this just doesn’t cut it at this level.
                3. Another one is our form in the June matches the last two years has been very poor.

        • Roar Guru

          June 5th 2018 @ 9:29am
          Harry Jones said | June 5th 2018 @ 9:29am | ! Report

          Ireland is easy to plan for; but difficult to defeat anyway. Sexton and Murray will do what they always do. Hard to stop it. They execute.

      • June 5th 2018 @ 9:38am
        Joseph said | June 5th 2018 @ 9:38am | ! Report

        What are you smoking Harry?

        • Roar Guru

          June 5th 2018 @ 10:36am
          Harry Jones said | June 5th 2018 @ 10:36am | ! Report

          Guatemalan Gold No 43

          • Roar Guru

            June 5th 2018 @ 12:03pm
            Machooka said | June 5th 2018 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

            I’m fond of the odd Monte Cristo #4… or sometimes Nepalese black, Gold seal, wrapped in red cellophane!

            • June 5th 2018 @ 12:15pm
              Ouch said | June 5th 2018 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

              You can get Nepalese?

              Well connected.

            • Roar Rookie

              June 5th 2018 @ 12:49pm
              Don said | June 5th 2018 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

              Pretty flash sounding gear boys.
              Is that like the common garden variety Mullumbimby Sinsemilla the hipsters smoke up here?

            • June 5th 2018 @ 7:48pm
              moa said | June 5th 2018 @ 7:48pm | ! Report

              @ Machooka
              Things must have moved eastward since I was in that neck of the woods.The ‘black’ came from Afghanistan and Pakistan.Was more a greeny-brown in India and Nepal.

              The chellum was the portal of choice and the scenery was interesting to say the least-especially through my yellow lenses1

          • Roar Guru

            June 5th 2018 @ 1:27pm
            The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 5th 2018 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

            I prefer to smoke Strawberry Cough, Blue Dream, and Ghost Train Haze.

          • June 5th 2018 @ 7:03pm
            Boomeranga said | June 5th 2018 @ 7:03pm | ! Report

            The Guatemalans roll them too tight. Or so says Kramer.

      • Roar Guru

        June 5th 2018 @ 12:02pm
        PeterK said | June 5th 2018 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

        SA should be a lot stronger than last year with a far better coach and choosing very good players based o/s.

        Eng are down in form and have a lot of injuries.

        The referee appointments for the SA-Eng games

        B Okeefe
        R Poite
        G Jackson

        favour Boks slightly (in terms of referring style)

        The first 2 tests are at altitude.

        So overall Boks should be favoured to win comfortably 2-1 if not 3-0.

        Wallabies will be underdogs and will be fortunate to win 1 game.
        The main reason is the Wallabies don’t adapt to their opposition and keep playing the same way. Ireland are very well prepared for it having seen it so often.

        • Roar Guru

          June 5th 2018 @ 1:30pm
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 5th 2018 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

          So overall Boks should be favoured to win comfortably 2-1 if not 3-0.

          Really? The Boks will be a scratch side with not one single settled combination. They have no clue what their best XV is. And yet they gonna walk over England and win the series comfortably?

        • June 5th 2018 @ 7:00pm
          Boomeranga said | June 5th 2018 @ 7:00pm | ! Report

          The Boks and England referred by Lookaway Ok’fe. It’s gonna be a blood bath!

      • Columnist

        June 5th 2018 @ 4:00pm
        Nicholas Bishop said | June 5th 2018 @ 4:00pm | ! Report

        Where do you get this F/R idea from H? Do you know something? 🙂

        • Roar Guru

          June 5th 2018 @ 11:19pm
          Harry Jones said | June 5th 2018 @ 11:19pm | ! Report

          Sorry, Nick. What’s the F/R reference?
          French Retter?
          Faux Referee?
          Front Row?
          Fallacious Robbery?

          • Columnist

            June 6th 2018 @ 2:13am
            Nicholas Bishop said | June 6th 2018 @ 2:13am | ! Report

            Front row Hazza, front row (what else?) 🙂

            • Roar Guru

              June 6th 2018 @ 3:40am
              Harry Jones said | June 6th 2018 @ 3:40am | ! Report

              Haha!

              Well, to be honest, I assumed Kyle Sinckler had the tighthead jersey sewn on to him, but now I read the other Harry might sneak in.

              Also, I see that the other Nick might start at lock, because Big Joe pulled a calf.

              • June 6th 2018 @ 9:59pm
                RugbyNovice said | June 6th 2018 @ 9:59pm | ! Report

                Thinking this might be the front row:

                Vunipola
                George
                Williams

                With the following bench:

                Genge
                LCD
                Sinckler

                A lot of dynamic players to come on after 50/60 minutes when the starters are knackered from the altitude.

    • June 5th 2018 @ 4:42am
      bluesfan said | June 5th 2018 @ 4:42am | ! Report

      Think all 3 Sth Hemisphere sides will probably be poor in the first game as they try to bed into new team structures vs existing Super Team systems etc.

      Only question is, will be will it be enough to gain a win over the likes of Ireland, England etc – as with only 5 days prep you are pushing to get your team to gell properly.

      How long has Ireland being in Oz – will they actually have better prep than the Wallabies? Know that the French have – as they arrived mid last week into NZ – which gives them a couple more days of Prep time vs. AB.

      • Roar Guru

        June 5th 2018 @ 12:06pm
        PeterK said | June 5th 2018 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

        SA had 2 weeks to prepare and why they sent a B team to play Wales in Washington DC.

        • Roar Guru

          June 6th 2018 @ 3:41am
          Harry Jones said | June 6th 2018 @ 3:41am | ! Report

          @PeterK

          Yes, but because Rassie only called a few overseas guys back, and because two of THEM (Steyn and Bismarck) won’t play in Test 1, there really are NO combinations at all in this Bok team. None. Every combo is a first time experience.

      • Roar Guru

        June 5th 2018 @ 11:15pm
        Derm McCrum said | June 5th 2018 @ 11:15pm | ! Report

        Ireland apparently flew out Team A Thursday and Team B Friday – Irish time. Started training Monday.

    • June 5th 2018 @ 4:42am
      truestone said | June 5th 2018 @ 4:42am | ! Report

      Good point Brett. We may actually have form. And skill development since last November.
      With everything that is ‘not right’ about OZ rugby, we may have a competitive test team.

    • June 5th 2018 @ 5:03am
      BBA said | June 5th 2018 @ 5:03am | ! Report

      Agree, Wallabies attacking pieces are in good form, but up against a good Irish defense. Certainly, if it gets into a backs shootout Wallabies looking good. However, it will be just as important to see how the Wallabies defense goes against the Irish attack.

      First game is certainly the most winnable for the Wallabies, and if they win that one confidence may get them through.

      I just see a lot of mauls coming the Wallabies way, and the Wallabies “form” in dealing with that hasn’t been so good.

      • Roar Guru

        June 5th 2018 @ 5:04am
        Harry Jones said | June 5th 2018 @ 5:04am | ! Report

        Rodda isn’t bad at messing up mauls.

        • June 5th 2018 @ 9:14am
          Fionn said | June 5th 2018 @ 9:14am | ! Report

          Arnold – like Fardy – is a beast in maul defences.

        • Roar Guru

          June 5th 2018 @ 11:20am
          jeznez said | June 5th 2018 @ 11:20am | ! Report

          I think Simmons outpointed Rodda on the weekend and particularly as the Pooper looks likely and our rakes are untested I think we need our premier lineout forward out there.

          Coleman/Simmons to start with Rodda on the bench, Arnold still suspended for another week.

          The big one for me is that hopefully Timu gets the third backrow spot to go with Pocock and Hooper so that we have one big body in the trio.

          • June 5th 2018 @ 11:54am
            Boomeranga said | June 5th 2018 @ 11:54am | ! Report

            “Coleman/Simmons to start with Rodda on the bench” for me too.

            I know it never going to happen, but my own team has Tui, Pocock, Timu with Hoops coming on for Tui when his engine blows up. I want some big boppas out there early for early exchanges and setting the tone of the scrum.

            • Roar Guru

              June 5th 2018 @ 12:09pm
              PeterK said | June 5th 2018 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

              I agree but Pooper will be selected and jeznez is correct that menas Simmons must start over Rodda.

              Timu must start at 8 , if Samu gets the nod that is 3 small backrowers and a disaster in the making.

        • Roar Guru

          June 5th 2018 @ 2:03pm
          Ralph said | June 5th 2018 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

          Did you see the steal Scott Barrett did last weekend, straight through the middle then stole the ball to boot.

          Terrific stuff.

          • Roar Guru

            June 5th 2018 @ 11:20pm
            Harry Jones said | June 5th 2018 @ 11:20pm | ! Report

            A lot of teams are holding on to a maul a few seconds too long. Inexcusable.

            The 9 has to ‘feel’ when it’s time to GO!

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