Ireland needs to show more respect to the Wallabies and to Super Rugby

Spiro Zavos Columnist

By Spiro Zavos, Spiro Zavos is a Roar Expert

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    The scoreline of Wallabies 18, Ireland 9 might seem tight but the victory at Brisbane has massive implications for the national side in the series, this year’s campaigns and, ultimately, during the 2019 Rugby World Cup tournament in Japan.

    We saw from Michael Cheika’s Wallabies a new powerful, distinctive and effective method that built on the unique skills and physical strengths that the diversity in the squad offered the coaching staff to use in the team’s game plan.

    The last time a Wallabies side was coached to play in a method that exploited the athletic strengths and skills of the players was during Rod Macqueen’s glorious era when every trophy available to his side to compete for, including the Webb Ellis Cup, was won.

    The starting XV for the Wallabies at Brisbane contained nine players of Islander, Fijian, Aboriginal and Papua New-Guinean background. This is a startling change from the Wallabies sides in other years and should put an end to the nonsense put out, mainly from league adherents, that rugby is somehow a private school game.

    A journalist always has to tread gently, trying to avoid stereotyping land mines, when writing about diversity of background.

    But the fact of the matter is that the different body types offered by the Islander, Fijian, Aboriginal and Papua New Guinean background of the nine starters, and their four counterparts on the bench, has allowed the coaches to devise a game plan based on power and leaping skills that is unique right now to the Wallabies.

    The Wallabies unleashed a power game on Ireland that embraced collisions on the ground and contests in the air.

    The victory against the No.2 team in the world, unbeaten in their last 12 Tests, reinforced the truth that in the main the ground and air battles were won by the Wallabies.

    I would make this comment about Israel Folau and his aerial skills, in this context of the new Cheika Wallabies. There is no player in the game right now, or in the past, that is so masterful in the air and so dynamic in his running once he comes to earth after one of his incredible catches than Folau.

    He is rugby’s Cazaly. And for the first time for the Wallabies this “Up There Folau” talent has become a centre-piece of the Wallabies attacking method. About time, too.

    Israel Folau Wallabies Australian Rugby Union 2017

    (AAP Image/Joe Castro)

    Ireland, with Rob Kearney and Jacob Stockdale leading the jumping, is actually a good team in the air. But they were virtually cleaned out in this dimension by Folau. It was this dominance in the air, from kick-offs, exits and high ball attacks, that lead to dominance in other areas of the game for the Wallabies.

    The game plan was shrewd in that on defence Folau and Kurtley Beale dropped back. This two-fullbacks system allowed Beale to either race into the line on turnovers (Ireland uncharacteristically conceded 21 of these) where he is devastating with his running or put in bombs for Folau to chase and catch and create break-out attacks.

    There was massive power in the tackle game of the Wallabies, too, where some of the hits registered high on the rugby Ritcher Scale for bone-shattering collisions.

    On 164 carries, Ireland were reduced to only 9 clean breaks and 21 turnovers conceded. On 120 carries, the Wallabies made eight clean breaks and conceded 12 turnovers.

    The Wallabies won the air battle, the scrum battle (with four of the five props and hookers being Islanders) and the battle of the advantage line. They scored two tries and held Ireland tryless.

    There was a third “try” scored by the Wallabies by Israel Folau clearing out from the defence which was called back, correctly as Rod Kafer explained in his commentary, by the South African referee Marius van der Westhuizen, who did a fine job in his unruffled officiating.

    Incidentally, David Pocock made a point of embracing Folau enthusiastically after this “try.” If Pocock can do this, why wouldn’t Fairfax Media at least drop its campaign to trash Folau on a weekly basis?

    Getting back to Pocock, he had a masterful game at No.7, even though he was playing in the No.6 jersey. But the Wallabies lacked a real No.6 with height, weight and power running. 

    The lineout problems experienced, especially in the first half, could have been more problematic against a side like the All Blacks that has a more dynamic approach to attacking play.

    This gets us to Ireland and what seemed to me, at least, to show a certain disrespect for the Wallabies and Super Rugby before the Test.

    If Ireland had real respect for the Wallabies, why did coach Joe Schmidt not run on his strongest team?

    He told interviewers before the match that he wanted to test whether Joey Carbery was a Test starter at number 10. Since when have important Tests, especially the crucial first Test of a three-Test series away from home, be a selection tryout?

    Depending on the outcome of the Test series Schmidt could have experimented with Carberry later on.

    Does anyone think that Schmidt will carry out a similar experiment in next year’s Six Nations tournament?

    Tests against the Wallabies should not be regarded as trials. They are the real thing. Schmidt should not have put his best player Johnny Sexton and his strongest prop Tadh Furlong on the bench.

    Ireland's New Zealand coach Joe Schmidt

    (AFP PHOTO / PAUL FAITH)

    The lack of respect came through with the way Ireland played, as well. Schmidt did not pay the Wallabies the respect they deserved by creating a game plan that was tailored especially to defeat the Wallabies.

    There was nothing new in the Ireland gameplan. It was the same plan as last year. The Wallabies were able to read the moves, even when Sexton was running things on the field, and only rarely was their defensive line put under pressure because they knew what to expect by the dutiful Ireland side.

    There was an outstanding piece of defensive work by Dane Haylett-Petty in preventing CJ Stander from scoring a try, by somehow getting his legs under the ball before it was planted over the tryline, which reflected on the fine spirit sparking the Wallabies.

    Ireland, on the other hand, seemed to be going through the motions with their 201 passes. This attitude of going through the motions is always dangerous for a team and makes it easier for oppositions to get on top of them by reading what is going to happen. It reflects, in my view, complacent coaching.

    Schmidt has not done what Michael Cheika (the Wallabies), Steve Hansen (the All Blacks) and Rassie Erasmus (the Springboks) have done with their teams, namely added to and changed aspects of last year’s methods and game plans.

    And this brings us to the third mark of Irish disrespect.

    Here is Donal Lenihan, one of Ireland’s greatest forwards, on the Super Rugby tournament: “To be honest with you, a lot of people don’t place huge stocks on what’s happening in Super Rugby anymore… there was a time when we’d all look in awe at the quality of the rugby, but now there’s a feeling that it doesn’t prepare people for Test rugby.”

    This is the same nonsense that Stephen Jones has peddled for years. You would think that people like him and Lenihan would have learnt from the 2015 RWC semi-finals, when all four teams, New Zealand, Argentina, Australia and South Africa, played out of SANZAAR and fielded teams in the Super Rugby tournament.

    Three of these semi-finalists, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa had stirring victories against three top Six Nations teams over the weekend.

    The Springboks came back, for instance, from being down 24-3 after 17 minutes to win 42-39.

    New Zealand came back from being down 8-11 to France at half-time to score at a rate of a point a minute to win 52-11.

    Wales, playing Super Rugby ensemble attacking rugby, defeated a stodgy Argentina 23 – 10.

    The point about the Springboks and the All Blacks, in particular, is that they scored tries from inventive and sometimes powerful play when they needed to.

    This is what the Super Rugby experience teaches players in these two countries and in Australia, too.

    An example of this is the emergence of Israel Folau’s leaping game as a match-winner for his side. The tactic really blossomed when the Waratahs were going through a rough patch with winning results and needed something, anything, to give them an edge in their attacking game.

    Israel Folau celebrates

    (Photo by Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    What worked for the Waratahs in Super Rugby has now worked for the Wallabies in helping to defeat Ireland in the first Test at Brisbane.

    This sets up a crucial test for both coaches.

    What will Joe Schmidt do to stop Israel Folau dominating the air game and a tough Wallabies pack from dominating the collisions in their ground game?

    And what further refinements of the new Wallabies game plan will Michael Cheika unveil at Melbourne to get a check-mate result there?

    Spiro Zavos
    Spiro Zavos

    Spiro Zavos, a founding writer on The Roar, was long time editorial writer on the Sydney Morning Herald, where he started a rugby column that has run for nearly 30 years. Spiro has written 12 books: fiction, biography, politics and histories of Australian, New Zealand, British and South African rugby. He is regarded as one of the foremost writers on rugby throughout the world.

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    The Crowd Says (163)

    • June 11th 2018 @ 7:50am
      Targa said | June 11th 2018 @ 7:50am | ! Report

      There were also a couple of Southern Africans in the team as well

      • June 11th 2018 @ 8:28am
        Noodles said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:28am | ! Report

        Not sure what point is being made here. Also not at all buying the disrespect thing. Ireland players and esp Leinster have had a long and tough season. It made sense to give them the maximum break if they’re going to be used in the series.
        As for the flying Folau hyperbole I’m with cheika, who clearly has doubts. A lot of good ball was kicked away without pay.

        • Roar Guru

          June 11th 2018 @ 12:50pm
          PeterK said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

          The plan to mix it up and kick to add variety to the ball in hand run at all costs was perfect.

          Yes it lacked in execution , something they need to practise more of.

        • June 11th 2018 @ 1:07pm
          Drongo said | June 11th 2018 @ 1:07pm | ! Report

          It has nothing to do with ‘respect’. Australian and Kiwi journalists want everything to relate back to some perceived character trait. E.g. the negative connotations of not showing respect. The Irish were simply outplayed in this match. It’s skill and execution that win elite level competitions. Coaches that focus on that, as Cheika appears to have done for this test, at last, normally win the contest. The Irish will come back next test with slightly different tactics and their strongest possible starting team. Nothing to do with respect, just an insatiable desire to win.

          • June 12th 2018 @ 9:57am
            Garry said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:57am | ! Report

            Post match conference the Irish coaches mentioned that one reason for their starting lineup was that they only had 11 games before the RWC to build depth in their squad with international game time experience. Does Cheika have the same vision, or more concerned about preventing another Nth Hemisphere series loss at home? How close to the RWC will he be bellyaching about the lack of depth in Aus Super Rugby?

      • Roar Rookie

        June 11th 2018 @ 8:37am
        cinque said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:37am | ! Report

        I counted Spiro’s total at 10. Is Coleman a half?
        While we are at it “4 of the 5 props and hookers” leaves someone feeling miffed.

        • June 11th 2018 @ 12:47pm
          jameswm said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

          Yes – Coleman is part Tongan

      • June 11th 2018 @ 6:03pm
        Nigel said | June 11th 2018 @ 6:03pm | ! Report

        Pocock was from Zimbabwe and HP plus everybody else there were 10 from the colonies!!!

        • June 11th 2018 @ 11:08pm
          Ex force fan said | June 11th 2018 @ 11:08pm | ! Report

          If you need to pick Australian born players there will not be much of a team. However we all call Australia home now.

    • Roar Guru

      June 11th 2018 @ 7:57am
      Corne Van Vuuren said | June 11th 2018 @ 7:57am | ! Report

      Iwatched the almost try of Stander in slow moton a couple of times, Gaulett Petty was in a fortuitous position, he rolled underneath Stander who then rolled the ball onto Haylett Petty’s arm.

      Could so easily have been a score, was great strength to keep the ball up, but very fortunate in my view.

      I don’t knowwhether the voiced opinion of one player should generalise about the opinion of others on Super Rugby, but who cares? The SH has been looking “down” on the NH for a long time.

      • Roar Guru

        June 11th 2018 @ 8:18am
        Derm McCrum said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:18am | ! Report

        Precisely Corne. And let’s face it, there’s been plenty of local voices bagging Super Rugby and its structure, without needing to take account of one long-time ex-players point of view.

        As for the ‘why didn’t Sexton start’ – because Carbery had to start at some point whether Australia or, in this case, Spiro likes it or not. Spiro asks: Since when have important Tests, especially the crucial first Test of a three-Test series away from home, be a selection tryout?

        Maybe he should ask Cheika why did he tryout two new recruits in his side in the crucial first test? Because there are three tests in which to try out different things. That’s the whole point of them.

        • June 11th 2018 @ 9:14am
          Ed said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:14am | ! Report

          Agree Derm.

          As much as Spiro will argue otherwise, the test rugby cycle is based around the RWC. Ask many of my fellow Wallabies supporters what would they prefer: we win the world cup in Japan or win back the Bledisloe? Most would say the former.

          This quotes from Schmidt illustrates some of his thinking re Japan:
          “We’ve capped 33 players. We’ve probably capped the guys that we are interested in but we now need to give them opportunity because we can’t be caught with guys who haven’t got that experience and haven’t been in that really white-hot atmosphere that playing a big team, that whole furnace that occurred tonight, with time and space taken away, how physical it was.”

          Did Cheika disrespect some of his opponents last year when he picked Hanigan instead of a superior player in Fardy? The reason of Scott going overseas doesn’t cut it as McMahon played in the RC despite going to Japan afterwards.

          Obviously Schmidt remembers what happened in 2015 with injuries and suspension hitting his side for the quarterfinal, so he wants players ready to step in at that level. If Genia and/or Foley are injured in 2019, Oz is stuffed as Cheika has not given time to others to play in the intensity of tests. The ABs ensure their backup players have had that exposure.

          • June 11th 2018 @ 10:04am
            Fionn said | June 11th 2018 @ 10:04am | ! Report

            ‘As much as Spiro will argue otherwise, the test rugby cycle is based around the RWC’

            This is a sad reality in my opinion.

            • June 11th 2018 @ 1:42pm
              Ed said | June 11th 2018 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

              I agree Fionn.

        • June 11th 2018 @ 12:49pm
          jameswm said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

          Cherka tried 2 new recruits because they have proven themselves the best in their position this Super rugby season.

          The better point would have been to say Cheika gave TPN the June tests off to rest, so he can play in the RC.

          • Roar Guru

            June 11th 2018 @ 12:57pm
            PeterK said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

            TPN actually made himself unavailable and Cheika made the best of it in his announcement.

        • Roar Guru

          June 11th 2018 @ 12:55pm
          PeterK said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

          Derm – The 2 new recruits for australia hardly compares.

          1 the hooker was because Moore has retired, Polotau-Nau is not available. Ulese was injured.

          Latu who had all of 4 tests as experience had not started 1 game in super rugby and only on the bench for the last couple of games.

          Timu the other , Mumm has retired. McCalman isn’t playing super rugby. Hanigan and Dempsey were both injured.

          The only capped 6/8 available was Higginbotham (who should have been selected) is marked as never to be selected again.

          So another new player was always going to be chosen.

      • Roar Guru

        June 11th 2018 @ 8:58am
        soapit said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:58am | ! Report

        stander could have put the ball down behind him pretty much uncontested with a little more awareness rather than try and roll it forward over dhp.

        bit of luck for oz but youve got to be good enough to make it count and dhp was

      • Roar Guru

        June 11th 2018 @ 10:35am
        Ralph said | June 11th 2018 @ 10:35am | ! Report

        Personally I would have given that try. Once they rolled him over to his side there was no chance that no part of that ball was on grass. Sure there was a hand under some of it – but not all of it.

        • Roar Guru

          June 11th 2018 @ 12:58pm
          PeterK said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

          To give it you need to see the ball touch grass, no such view so no try given.

          • June 11th 2018 @ 3:08pm
            somer said | June 11th 2018 @ 3:08pm | ! Report

            Really? It’s not uncommon to have the base of the ball obscured but its positioning infers that contact with the grass is certain, and as such, it should be given.

            • Roar Guru

              June 11th 2018 @ 3:29pm
              PeterK said | June 11th 2018 @ 3:29pm | ! Report

              if the ref has ruled no try or unsighted then he needs to see the ball hit grass.

              if the ref initial decision is try then he needs to see an error (like lost ball) to over rule it.

              The ref could see the ball being held up right up close so the tmo needed to see actual contact with the grass.

        • June 11th 2018 @ 3:02pm
          somer said | June 11th 2018 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

          I agree, the top of the ball (the bit we could see) was so close to the ground that it was a physical impossibility for it not to have contact with the turf.

    • June 11th 2018 @ 8:01am
      MH01 said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:01am | ! Report

      The difference I saw was David Pocock, from last years european tour.

      Though well done on writing more lines about the dead horse agenda , than on the impact that pocock had on the game,

      Pocock should get more respect . At home and Abroad, including so called Australian journalists .

      For once I can say Lord got the Monday article right. Missing your point about super rugby and wallabies winning, care to explain it better ? Other than Israel is amazing in the air…. which he has been since his NRL days.

      • Roar Guru

        June 11th 2018 @ 1:02pm
        PeterK said | June 11th 2018 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

        Spiro will find it hard to give Pocock much credit since in his recent article he said Pocock is of defensive use only , for negative purposes and should be on the bench, to be brought on to protect a lead.

        Hard for him to note the positive for him and admit his errors in so many ways.

        https://www.theroar.com.au/2018/05/14/michael-cheikas-2018-wallabies-need-another-captain-new-talent/

      • June 11th 2018 @ 1:54pm
        Ed said | June 11th 2018 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

        I think Pocock has a bit of respect with our trans-Tasman rivals. It is from three years ago but I am sure they will have a plan to try to deal with him in August

        • Roar Rookie

          June 11th 2018 @ 2:00pm
          piru said | June 11th 2018 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

          He does have a lot of respect in NZ – which he deserves.

          Most, like me, can’t understand why he’s always playing second fiddle tbh

          • June 11th 2018 @ 2:58pm
            Ed said | June 11th 2018 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

            Absolutely Piru.

            • June 11th 2018 @ 4:45pm
              Jacko said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

              Has Pooper ever worked against NZ?

              • June 11th 2018 @ 4:53pm
                Fionn said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:53pm | ! Report

                Pretty sure the Wallabies won with in 2015, Jacko.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 11th 2018 @ 4:55pm
                piru said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:55pm | ! Report

                I’m sure I remember us winning a world cup in 15 Fionn

              • June 11th 2018 @ 5:31pm
                Ed said | June 11th 2018 @ 5:31pm | ! Report

                Sydney 2015 Jacko.

          • June 11th 2018 @ 4:46pm
            woodart said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:46pm | ! Report

            respect, on and off the feild.

        • Roar Guru

          June 11th 2018 @ 3:15pm
          Kane said | June 11th 2018 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

          I wouldn’t take any tips from Wilson in that video, he’s committing two illegal acts in that still pic.

    • June 11th 2018 @ 8:14am
      Suzy Poison said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:14am | ! Report

      Well Harry Jones was right about Conner Murray’s box kick. In the first 30minutes, the new Irish number ten never saw the ball. Conner just booted away everything. Whilst boring to watch, it actually worked for a while. (Maybe that was Sexton wasn’t needed?)

      Ireland struggled on attack, but I think that was down to excellent Wallaby defence.

      Whilst. the Southern Hemisphere won the first round, I wouldn’t get too carried away. Been a long season for the visitors from the north.

      Lastly, everyone has ben raving about Pocock, and he was good, but the breakdown laws have changed, and he gave away six points too. He scored a try to win back five points. But the Wallabies need to be careful with Pocock.
      With the breakdown laws changing, he could become a penalty magnet. (Like he started to become for the Brumbies in Super rugby this year)

      • Roar Guru

        June 11th 2018 @ 8:37am
        Derm McCrum said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:37am | ! Report

        You need to watch the first 30 minutes again, Suzy. Conor Murray regularly passed to Joey Carbery and the backline attacked on receipt of it.

        • June 11th 2018 @ 2:07pm
          jim boyce said | June 11th 2018 @ 2:07pm | ! Report

          Dem – You are right after that piece about box kicks, I watched with interest. and Carberry received the ball all the time in first 10 minutes.However Carberry , at the present time ,has nowhere the same authority in his game as Sexton. In fact Murray’s use of the box kick was fairly limited

          • Roar Guru

            June 12th 2018 @ 6:42am
            Derm McCrum said | June 12th 2018 @ 6:42am | ! Report

            Yes Jim. In fact, Murray box kicked just twice in the first half. The other two were exit kicks to touch.

      • June 11th 2018 @ 8:48am
        Ozinsa said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:48am | ! Report

        The two penalties he conceded were both dubious. The particularly biased Irish commentary on Sky acknowledged that he was unlucky on both occasions – and the first wasn’t even a penalty against Hooper for sealing off and allowing Pocock to steal (which was exactly what Murray had done 10 minutes earlier allowing an Irish penalty and making me wonder about consistency).
        Ireland will be better next week but a more consistently refereed breakdown and better decision making by our 10-12 will level that out. We can win again

        • June 11th 2018 @ 12:51pm
          jameswm said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

          Yea o n one penalty Pocock was off his feet but clearly got back on his feet before playing the ball. Too quick for the ref, who lost all control by the end.

        • June 13th 2018 @ 2:32pm
          Markie362 said | June 13th 2018 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

          What a joke the biased irish commentary.what about kearns and co.also gordons not called bray for nothing

      • Roar Guru

        June 11th 2018 @ 9:01am
        stillmissit said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:01am | ! Report

        Hi Suzy: I think that this is a good post by Spiro and the Northern Hemi which was looking as if their time had come, now look like it might have fizzled out due to inability to vary a winning plot!
        David Pocock had a great game but no better than Adam Coleman who I thought was outstanding again. Spiro said “Getting back to Pocock, he had a masterful game at No.7, even though he was playing in the No.6 jersey. But the Wallabies lacked a real No.6 with height, weight and power running.” – Is Hooper needed if we have Pocock?

        So here is my other Hooper question:

        Can you or someone explain to me what Hooper’s role is as a 7?
        I tried to watch him but he was so often away from the ball and the breakdown I gave up after the first 20 mins. It seems to me that his main job is as another backline defender (a good one too) and a link/support of backline play. Joining the breakdown if he happens to be close to it.

        Not sure that is what we need for the world cup next year.

        • June 11th 2018 @ 9:21am
          Nudge said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:21am | ! Report

          Being from South Australia I don’t know much about the rules and tactics of rugby, but I have worked out having Hooper and Pocock in the same starting team really affects our line out as they both lack height. Why then, for the line out can’t we move Folau into it (our best leaper and marker) and push Beale back to Fullback and Hooper could even go back to the wing just for the line out.
          I’m sure their is reason this can’t be done so interested to hear why ?

          • June 11th 2018 @ 9:45am
            Charlie Turner said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:45am | ! Report

            Nudge, you could do that on defensive lineouts in opposition territory where the maul was not a big risk as Folau would be a liability defending a maul. He might be a handy jumper on Wallaby feeds in their own 22 for off the top ball but I doubt he’d appreciate bringing the ball back down and being the centre of the maul.

            • June 11th 2018 @ 10:40am
              Nudge said | June 11th 2018 @ 10:40am | ! Report

              Thanks Charlie. Understand

              • June 11th 2018 @ 12:40pm
                Buk said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

                Actually some pretty good left field thinking. Yes he would have to learn maul tactics, but certainly an innovative thought.

              • June 11th 2018 @ 1:31pm
                Observer said | June 11th 2018 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

                Further to that, it is not so much his ability as a jumper as they are lifted by the props. The timing required to win the ball takes a lot of practice and to deliver the ball or retain it for a drive forward is very technical as well.

              • June 11th 2018 @ 3:14pm
                mtiger said | June 11th 2018 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

                Observer,

                Jumping, for backs, is quite easy.

          • June 11th 2018 @ 12:52pm
            jameswm said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

            Not the worst idea Nudge.

          • June 11th 2018 @ 1:36pm
            Fionn said | June 11th 2018 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

            Nudge, I seem to remember Jordie Barrett being used as a jumper by either the All Blacks or the Hurricanes, so you could well be right!

          • Roar Guru

            June 11th 2018 @ 4:41pm
            Diggercane said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:41pm | ! Report

            Certainly for a defensive lineout the height is useful as generally you don’t have the same time to get in the air with lifters but a well oiled lineout on their own ball can utilise your average players, particularly with good lifters and calls. Pocock actually took some on Saturday, one at two, was a good surprise tactic. The problem certainly arises when the opposition have four to five quality options as it is simply not just about winning your own ball, if it is under pressure you immediately start going backwards and it is difficult to build momentum once on the back foot.

        • June 11th 2018 @ 9:29am
          Redteeth said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:29am | ! Report

          Give up on Hooper stillmissit. I tried to work Hooper out for years I decided eventually, Hooper invented a new position on the rugby field. We play one back rower short most games. It varies: some games he’s .25 forward & .75 back. Others vice versa. But he also mixes it up on attack & defense. But whilst his contributuon makes him indispensable ( & he has risen through the ranks to Captain) it means we must have exceptional No 6 and 8 to make up for his non – attendance at forward v forward tight stuff at times (rolling mauls). We actually pick guys who can play tight at 6 & 8 this week & it was better to see Pocock at 6. Allows us to choose and develop real No8s.

        • June 11th 2018 @ 10:19am
          Crash Ball2 said | June 11th 2018 @ 10:19am | ! Report

          Hooper is a good defender, not a great one. One out of every four tackles he attempts is either ineffective or missed altogether. For every multi-replayed highlight reel rush tackle on a flat-footed, hospital pass awaiting 85 kilo Joey Carberry Fox Sports loves to pour out with accompanying poetic hyperbole, is the patent ragdolling he received from a rampaging, tryline bound Irish forward in the second half (lost to Fox commentators and ignored by the Great Unwashed).

          Is Hooper needed if we have Pocock? No.

          • June 11th 2018 @ 10:44am
            KFar said | June 11th 2018 @ 10:44am | ! Report

            I agree.
            Start Pocock at 6, Samu at 7.
            Use Hooper off the bench like the AB’s use Ardie Savea.
            Also give the captaincy to Pocock.

            • Roar Rookie

              June 11th 2018 @ 12:23pm
              Sage said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

              Exactly.

            • June 11th 2018 @ 12:52pm
              jameswm said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

              It would be Pocock 7 and Samu at 6 where he plays for the Crusaders.

              • Roar Guru

                June 11th 2018 @ 1:10pm
                PeterK said | June 11th 2018 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

                agree and I would rather have Hooper than Samu and the lineout is hardly improved.

                Higginbotham 6 Pocock 7 Timu 8

              • June 11th 2018 @ 3:13pm
                Wozza said | June 11th 2018 @ 3:13pm | ! Report

                Any news on Dempsey?

              • June 11th 2018 @ 8:06pm
                KFar said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:06pm | ! Report

                He plays loosie, either 6 or 7 for the Crusaders.
                He’s better of at 6. Play the Kaino/Tafua role.

            • June 12th 2018 @ 2:13pm
              TIMOTHY POWER said | June 12th 2018 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

              +1

      • June 11th 2018 @ 9:58am
        Crash Ball2 said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:58am | ! Report

        Pocock gave away only one penalty. The fIrst infringement that led to Irish points was against Michael Hooper for not rolling away. Pocock’s pilfer attempt was textbook.

        The second infringement adjudicated against Pocock was based on incumbent laws, not new ones. The broadbrush attribution of any ruck penalty to the vaunted “new laws” is lazily widespread and flawed.

        The bloke was outstanding on Saturday. Going both ways. He didn’t just score points. He saved them. And “5 points” sure as beans doesn’t encapsulate that influence. If anyone needs to be careful with Pocock, it’s the opposition. Best player on the pitch.

        • June 11th 2018 @ 12:05pm
          Lewis said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

          Except that Hooper was at the side of the ruck, nowhere near the ball and not in the way at all. It was a ridiculous decision by the ref. At first he was yelling at Pocock to “release” and then blew the penalty when he didn’t. After the ref probably realising that Pocok had rights to the ball all along and was on his feet, it’s like he then had to resort to blaming someone else (Hooper, who was in the vicinity) for not rolling. It was just another example of poor refereeing for large parts of the game.

          • June 11th 2018 @ 3:26pm
            Crash Ball2 said | June 11th 2018 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

            Ref definitely made a mess of this call any way you cut it. None the less, it was Hooper who was ultimately deemed to have infringed. Those attempting to attribute those 3 Irish points and an extra penalty to Pocock are, for whatever reason, peddling a false narrative.

        • June 11th 2018 @ 8:22pm
          Suzy Poison said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:22pm | ! Report

          Actually I agree Crash Ball. David Pocock was the best Australian forward on the park. (but he still needs to watch the new laws ) But I don’t think he is a number 8, and I think he should play open-sider and Hooper should be benched.
          I watched the Boks versus England game, which was an thrilling contest between two of the best true number eights in the business. Billy Vunipolo versus Duane Vermuelen. Both of whom, in my opinion are better number eights than Pocock. Vermuelen won Saturday’s battle. He won a number of steals at the breakdown and is hard to bring down. I am not meaning to belittle Pocock’s contribution. I just think the Australian backrow balance is out of whack and Pocock is playing out of position.

          • June 12th 2018 @ 12:00am
            Crash Ball2 said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:00am | ! Report

            Can’t disagree with any of that SP.

          • Roar Rookie

            June 12th 2018 @ 7:28pm
            Die hard said | June 12th 2018 @ 7:28pm | ! Report

            Which is the way I see it also. With a few new options at eight coming along there is a chance things might change. At least there are new options on the board

      • June 11th 2018 @ 11:17am
        Crash Ball2 said | June 11th 2018 @ 11:17am | ! Report

        Super Rugby:

        Michael Hooper games: 13, penalties: 13, yellow cards: 1

        David Pocock games: 7, penalties: 8, yellow cards: 0

        • June 11th 2018 @ 11:26am
          Fionn said | June 11th 2018 @ 11:26am | ! Report

          It seems like who talk about how the new breakdown laws have meant that Pocock is not the same force he once was at the breakdown have not once watched Pocock play once under the new laws…

        • June 11th 2018 @ 12:29pm
          Phil said | June 11th 2018 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

          CB2,why the persitent attack on Hooper?For how many years now has he been the most consistent performing Wallaby player?Sure it’s great to have Pocock back and no doubt,in my opinion,he was MOTM on Saturday,but he and Hooper work great together.Cheika will not change selecting both of them and neither he should.
          How about being positive on a great Wallaby win,rather than focusing on personal hate of players?

          • June 11th 2018 @ 4:01pm
            Crash Ball2 said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:01pm | ! Report

            No issues with Pocock being incorrectly accused of over-infringing during that same win, Phil? No problems with the glaringly flawed idea that the scary “new breakdown laws” have blunted DP’s ruck influence even after totally dominating the ground game on Saturday? Is your protective outrage uniformly or selectively applied to all arguments and personnel on this topic?

            Who doesn’t like a good win? But a post 2015 RWC Australian winning percentage in the 40’s lends itself to commentary by the diehards who pay the gate fees and buy the broadcast subscriptions. Indeed, it is the central premise underpinning a rugby blog such as, ah, this one.

            But then, just as you are free to propose that: “[Hooper] has been the most consistent performing Wallaby”, “[Pocock] and Hooper work great together”, and “Cheika will not change selecting both of them and neither he should.”

            So too might one respond: Hooper wasn’t even the form Australian backrower last season, even in Pocock’s absence. Pocock doesn’t require Hooper to be just as effective as he already is. Indeed, he and the other Wallaby forwards, would benefit far more from being augmented by a better ruck cleaner, lineout jumper, maul contester, scrum leverager, and/or tight channel runner. Cheika should select the best openside flanker in Australia to start at 7 for the Wallabies, and then accompany them with the best blindside and 8. Pursuant to your request, of these things, I’m positive.

            • June 11th 2018 @ 4:20pm
              Charlie Turner said | June 11th 2018 @ 4:20pm | ! Report

              That’s an old fashion dressing down right there! Beauty CB2.

            • Roar Guru

              June 11th 2018 @ 8:33pm
              eagleJack said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:33pm | ! Report

    • June 11th 2018 @ 8:18am
      Dan said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:18am | ! Report

      Paenga Amosa, Paenga is a Maori name. His mothers maiden name I’m guessing is Paenga. From the East Coast of the North Island NZ. Ngatiporou Iwi (tribe) While his fathers surname would be Amosa. Those in the know could you please comment

      • Roar Guru

        June 11th 2018 @ 9:04am
        stillmissit said | June 11th 2018 @ 9:04am | ! Report

        No idea Dan, but I thought he had a pretty good game apart from his throwing which is a confidence and skills thing.

        Well worth persevering with.

    • June 11th 2018 @ 8:22am
      Rob said | June 11th 2018 @ 8:22am | ! Report

      Yes the Irish game plan (if it isn’t pissing down with rain) will need to change. Conor Murray box kicks to a 50/50 contest are very effective against almost any team – including the ABs (Lions tour last year) – but not to a team with Folau. They have to avoid kicking anywhere near him with a high ball. Long balls onto grass by Sexton will be the orders. Or even long balls into touch: remember we look very dodgy in the lineout. Even if we do win lineouts our long kicking via Kurtley or Foley are weak. I just hope we have our line out sorted.

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