How good?! Wallabies extend the Australian form line with superb win

Brett McKay Columnist

By Brett McKay, Brett McKay is a Roar Expert

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    I’m sure I wasn’t the only Wallabies fan who sat down nervously before kick-off on Saturday night. The first Test match of the year is always well-anticipated, but the transition from Super Rugby to the international scene has often been rocky for Australia.

    Plus, this was against Ireland, who snuck into the country while we were still in our corners playing Super Rugby, and bringing an impressive winning streak, a Grand Slam Six Nations championship, and a bucket-load of provincial form with them.

    This would be – and still is, to be fair – Australian rugby’s biggest June Test since England arrived here a couple of years ago.

    The nerves were real, but the nerves were healthy, too. There had been a genuine shift in the perception of the Australian playing group over the preceding few weeks. Hope was giving way to green shoots of confidence.

    What followed was as gritty and as defensively impressive a performance from the Wallabies as seen in recent times.

    The 18-9 win has set a benchmark for hard work this year, from which they can build toward a series win that felt unlikely less than a month ago.

    And they will need to build, for as good as the performance was, it certainly wasn’t faultless. Likewise, we certainly can’t bank on Ireland being off the pace for the second Test, in Melbourne, as they were in Brisbane.

    What worked
    David Pocock worked – worked bloody hard, too. he was a monster at the ruck as he has been since returning from injury this season, and even when he wasn’t winning turnovers, he was so effective at slowing down and disrupting the ball coming back for Ireland scrumhalf Conor Murray.

    Though he wore No.6, Pocock played on the ball all over the field, like he always does, made some nice carries out on the edges, and scored the match-winning try, which was well-deserved.

    It was interesting to see him packing scrums at No.8 at times, and equally interesting that he was replaced shortly after scoring in the 72nd minute, coming off at the same time as Will Genia, in what felt like a bold strategy.

    It’s hard to recall a Wallabies player having as significant an impact as Pocock did. I’m sure there are examples, and I’m sure some of you will even make suggestions, but I’m confident none will have been in the 18 months it’s been since Pocock last pulled on the Australian jersey.

    It was an incredible performance, and one that’s rightly being widely lauded across the rugby world. Any possible lingering doubts about Pocock’s ability to keep up with the modern game have well and truly been erased.

    Supplied

    Kurtley Beale worked, too. He was the Wallabies’ next best on the field, after Pocock, and was excellent in most aspects of his game, but specifically, his tactical kicking was top-notch, and his front-line defence set the tone.

    Beale did most of the exit and the tactical kicking in the first half, and it was of a quality not properly realised until Bernard Foley seemed to take over both tasks after halftime.

    The change didn’t really make any sense at the time, and it certainly didn’t make sense when the Irish back-three started coming forward to field balls, rather than being in position or even being forced backwards as Beale’s kicks often did.

    Those first 20 or so minutes after the break was when Ireland looked most likely, even taking the lead for a period. Foley had a decent game aside from his kicking, but he was at his most effective when playing distributor for Beale.

    When Beale resumed the tactical kicking duties again, the Wallabies immediately benefitted from better field position, culminating in Israel Folau’s disallowed try on the hour and Pocock’s match-winner 11 minutes later.

    Beale led the way in shutting down the Irish centres, Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw, which in turn applied more pressure on young flyhalf Joey Carberry.

    But the real story in defence was the Wallabies’ starting pack, who combined for 102 of the side’s 165 tackles made, with only four missed tackles between them. That’s 96 per cent effectiveness, if you’re doing the mental maths, an incredible display.

    The physicality in defence – in the first half in particular – absolutely set the bar, just as it set Ireland on the back foot.

    What still needs work
    Certainly, the lineout will near the top of the list, although no massive remedial effort is required.

    Brandon Paenga-Amosa gets a certain amount of leeway for being on debut, where his nerves to hit the lineout targets might even have been greater than the nerves of playing his first Test. Some timing collaborations will definitely help, but the old adage ‘better for the run’ will apply here.

    The midfield defensive alignment, and more specifically, the defensive re-alignment in broken play was found wanting on occasion, with several of Ireland’s breaks through the middle made in this way.

    But given that the Wallabies’ defence was more effective with fewer moving parts, an honest review this week and another week together in camp will go a long way toward addressing this too.

    A reminder about discipline would be in order, given indiscretion gave Carberry four shots at penalty goal – two of them in the first half, 12 minutes apart, and two more after the break, six minutes apart.

    Working with the assumption that Jonny Sexton will surely start in Melbourne, the Wallabies can’t afford opportunities like this, which could invite their opponents into the game, as they did twice in Brisbane.

    With all this said – and it’s by no means a complete list of what can be improved or of what was bloody great about the win – I wouldn’t change the side for the second Test.

    There may be consideration for going back to a 5-3 bench, but the bench also worked really well.

    Sometimes playing groups deserve the chance to wrap up a series, and the 23 from Brisbane should get that opportunity in Melbourne.

    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.

    State of Origin 2 is here, with the Blues looking to wrap the 2018 series up and the Maroons hoping to keep it alive and force a decider. Follow along with our NSW vs QLD Origin 2 live scores and blog.

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    The Crowd Says (274)

    • Roar Guru

      June 12th 2018 @ 5:23am
      Machpants said | June 12th 2018 @ 5:23am | ! Report

      What stood out to me, along with Henshaw ineffectively rushing out of the line on Beale five times in the first half giving acres of space, overlap and one try (and one potential, incorrectly called back), was the venom in the tackles. It was amazing! Can’t wait until this weekend Ozzie and Bok games, is there going to be a NH fight back? Also can’t wait for ABs game, but only cos I’m going. Not quite as much intrigue with another piece of French toast.

      Edit. I’ve only watched once, was the traditional Ozzie musical chassis defence dumped, mostly? Interesting that the wallabies looked their best once, according to your guardian article, Cheika let the players decide the game plan and ‘the one true running Ozzie way ‘ was finally ditched – as called for on the boards for years!

      • June 12th 2018 @ 5:33am
        BennO said | June 12th 2018 @ 5:33am | ! Report

        I also noticed that. So many solid hits with continued leg drive. It was great.

      • June 12th 2018 @ 8:00am
        Rugger said | June 12th 2018 @ 8:00am | ! Report

        It just goes to show that by cutting the Western Force – The Wallabies are actually improving for the first time since the Amigos and co lost their shine.
        Europe should follow suit and cut Italy from the six nations. Poor culture and poor performance should no longer be tolerated. Western Australia should focus on producing a squad full of home grown Super rugby players before it even thinks about throwing their hat in the ring again. #talentpoachers #intergenerationaltheives #cellardwellars

        • June 12th 2018 @ 8:47am
          Sru said | June 12th 2018 @ 8:47am | ! Report

          Cutting the Force hasn’t done a thing. We’re still just as lame at Super Rugby. The difference is that at Test level, Cheika forces the players to make a huge effort. Won’t be long before they drop off again though after one good Test.. That’s what we do.

          • June 12th 2018 @ 12:55pm
            dopplerman said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

            Its more worrying than that ,it looks very one dimensional compared with the other games over the weekend ……..good effort defensively against the Irish who seemed to do just one thing over and over .In attack we only had one trick the Bomb !

        • Roar Guru

          June 12th 2018 @ 9:10am
          jeznez said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:10am | ! Report

          So Coleman who didn’t make it with the Brumbies or Tahs should have been lost?

          DHP would likely be playing club footy in Perth?

          The Force produced a couple of our key contributors and you parlay that into a rant.

          • Roar Rookie

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

            Or Pocock jez

            • Roar Guru

              June 12th 2018 @ 12:21pm
              jeznez said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

              Fully agree Piru but thought that might have been who Rugger meant with regard to the talent poaching hashtags so deliberately left him out.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 12th 2018 @ 1:33pm
                piru said | June 12th 2018 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

                I didn’t even know hastags worked on TheRoar

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

              Thank god for the Force eh Jez?. Pocock ‘clearly’ a nurtured WA product signed out of a Brisbane GPS school in Senior year along with the other Perth product (who just happened to be raised his whole life in Brisbane and played 1st XV at Nudgee College) also signed out of school.
              Adam Coleman, born and raised in Tasmania signed out of the Sydney Shute shield.
              Even the heart and soul of the Force Hodgo (Sydney boy) and Honey Badger (Brisbane boy) are routinely claimed as ‘Men from the Western Front’.
              It’s all complete BS and Rugby Australia should be commended for stopping the bleeding before the patient (the East Coast Heartland) died on the table.

              • June 13th 2018 @ 6:49pm
                Dave from Mt Druitt said | June 13th 2018 @ 6:49pm | ! Report

                Some people just don’t get it.

                It’s fine saying the players are from Brisbane or Sydney but as the squads are restricted to a number of players there was no guarantee that they would ever been selected to play for the Tahs or Reds.

                The Western Force gave these players an opportunity to play Super Rugby and subsequently the Wallabies.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 13th 2018 @ 6:56pm
                piru said | June 13th 2018 @ 6:56pm | ! Report

                Rugger you are a sad insecure little man

                you have my pity

        • June 12th 2018 @ 9:15am
          30mm tags said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:15am | ! Report

          Wallaby form has nil to do with the exit of the Force. That comment is rubbish. Long term, the Wallabies will improve when the Western Force and their supporters come back into some form of Australia Pacific SH competition that does not include regular 8000 km flights trips

          • June 12th 2018 @ 10:01am
            jameswm said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:01am | ! Report

            I;m not sure it has nil to do with that. we have teams doing well, being competitive with and beating NZ sides, wand that winning form has carried through to the Wallabies.

            • June 12th 2018 @ 10:52am
              P2R2 said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:52am | ! Report

              only 2 sides, and beating the Blues is no big deal…yes beating the Landers….but thats all…dont take too much in 2 wins

            • Roar Rookie

              June 12th 2018 @ 11:15am
              piru said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:15am | ! Report

              You had that for years while the Force was still in Super Rugby too

              • June 12th 2018 @ 11:24am
                jameswm said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:24am | ! Report

                We did? Not for the last 2-3 years.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 12th 2018 @ 11:45am
                piru said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:45am | ! Report

                Force were 12 years old when they were cut

              • June 12th 2018 @ 1:01pm
                WA Rugby nut said | June 12th 2018 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

                agree and during the stint were no aust side won anything the force were the only team to come close

        • Roar Rookie

          June 12th 2018 @ 11:14am
          piru said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:14am | ! Report

          Coleman, Haylett Petty and Pocock all had pretty good games.

          All given their chances by The Force

          sit down

          • Roar Guru

            June 12th 2018 @ 11:38am
            Train Without A Station said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:38am | ! Report

            I don’t think Pocock helps any argument for the Force. He didn’t need to be given a chance. He was scooped up in an attempt to beat QLD and debuted as a 17 year old.

            He was always going to get his chance. The Force just acted to ensure they were the one’s that gave it.

            Coleman is a better example. He would have eventually come through at the Waratahs with the help of the NRC which didn’t start until he was at the Force. Though the risk is always that if a player has to toil away too long, they may take the opportunities overseas.

            Coleman is also a great example of one of the players that Cheika had under his nose and didn’t deem worthy of game time or a contract at the Waratahs and has since handed an international debut to.

            Coleman, Paenga-Amosa, Allan Ala’alatoa, Philip, Tui and Samu were all players he had at his disposal in 2014 and 2015 but had no interest in them for the Waratahs.

            Paenga-Amosa was probably a little young, but would have been the same age Fitzpatrick was when the Waratahs contracted him originally. Tui was probably a little raw for 2015, but the Reds contracted him for 2016 in the end.

            • June 12th 2018 @ 4:38pm
              double agent said | June 12th 2018 @ 4:38pm | ! Report

              You can’t pick ’em all TWAS. Who from the Waratah pack of 2014 would you drop to give those guys a go?

              • June 12th 2018 @ 5:18pm
                Train Without A Station said | June 12th 2018 @ 5:18pm | ! Report

                Indeed you can’t. But I’d have them over players like:

                Tilse
                Mitch Chapman
                Dave Porecki
                Sam Lousi
                Pat McCutcheon

                Reality means some may have been forced on Cheika, but some of those he chose to contract during his tenure.

        • Roar Guru

          June 12th 2018 @ 11:35am
          PeterK said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:35am | ! Report

          it was great that the first comment by a kiwi Machpants was so positive.

          Then pretty quickly someone has to derail the positive thread by a tr.o.lling comment re the force has to be posted.

          • Roar Rookie

            June 12th 2018 @ 11:46am
            piru said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:46am | ! Report

            Yes, but hard to see what his being a kiwi has to do with his comment

            • Roar Guru

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

              I point out that some kiwis have a habit of being first to be negative on article that are positive re aust rugby or players.

              So I think it fair I also recognise and highlight when a kiwi is first to post and is positive.

              It is called being fair and balanced.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 12th 2018 @ 12:12pm
                piru said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

                How about you just take comments on their merits?

              • Roar Rookie

                June 12th 2018 @ 1:12pm
                Paulo said | June 12th 2018 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

                Peter, you seem to be the only who seems to care, and comment almost every time, when the first Kiwi poster makes a comment and whether it is negative or not about Aust Rugby. I’m just not sure what the overall agenda is for you in doing this? All you do is sow discord with these comments.

                I made the comment few articles back regarding Pococks quote you had put up, about all being part of the same Rugby tribe and being big enough and mature enough to have a real discussion about issues. Creating and perpetuating this constant Aussie VS Kiwi narrative does not add anything positive to a discussion or create and engaging and positive environment. Which is becoming, rather sadly, a rare thing on the Roar these days.

                A common thread in all the Folau threads, was people should be criticizing the comments, not Folau himself. I would suggest, instead of always pointing out that a negative post came from a Kiwi, tackle the post on its merits. This will create a much more fair and balanced discussion.

              • Roar Guru

                June 12th 2018 @ 1:18pm
                PeterK said | June 12th 2018 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

                hahaha so you are having a go at me for giving props to a kiwi, saying positive things and acknowledging a good post.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 12th 2018 @ 1:26pm
                piru said | June 12th 2018 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

                No, I’m saying a good post is a good post, why do you need to qualify it by identifying the nationality of the poster?

              • Roar Rookie

                June 12th 2018 @ 3:30pm
                Paulo said | June 12th 2018 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

                Questioning your motive isn’t really having a go. More asking what it contributes to discussions that have nothing to do with Kiwis, why bring them up at all?

                Your props you hand out are also back handed comments like, for a Kiwi ref in no he did well, implies that by default he wouldn’t have done well, but good for him for overcoming his natural tendency to cheat.

                You have left enough room in your comments to cry victim when called out on them, but for regular readers, we have seen it. Which is a shame as you do contribute a lot of other very good posts and insights.

              • Roar Guru

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

                zero backhanded compliment in my post, it was great the comment was so positive

                it is only in your mind you want to add negatives

              • Roar Guru

                June 13th 2018 @ 12:10am
                taylorman said | June 13th 2018 @ 12:10am | ! Report

                Yes Paulo, I mean Pocock played well for an Australian.😂

        • June 12th 2018 @ 10:42pm
          In Brief said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:42pm | ! Report

          No winning super rugby in 2014 and being runners up in the world cup proved have valuable it was having the Force in Super rugby. Nothing to do with Chieka’s coaching.

      • Roar Rookie

        June 12th 2018 @ 8:31am
        Don said | June 12th 2018 @ 8:31am | ! Report

        What stood out for me (and pleased me) was to see Cheika continue to evolve his coaching and game plans further towards a more traditional game rather than the ad hoc “run ‘em off their feet “ stuff he tried to make work.

        There’s clearly more focus on set piece rugby and building pressure before simply spinning it wide. A couple of years back the line out seemed to be treated with no respect by Cheika. Now he accepts it’s importance and also the opportunity they present.

        And for all of his disdain for kicking, he seems to be accepting that it has an important place in game plans and that judicious kicks complement attacking rugby. There’s no shame in kicking and playing hard aggressive set piece rugby…

        We played with control and then width and speed when opportunity presented.

        May the evolution of Cheika’s coaching continue!

      • Roar Guru

        June 12th 2018 @ 9:15am
        jeznez said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:15am | ! Report

        Yep. They all defended in position with minimal moving parts.

        One telling moment for me was one of the first attacking lineouts for the Irish. About 10 off the Aussie line.

        Foley was behind the lineout as it was setting up and I thought, here we go again.

        By the time it was set, he was out in the 10 channel with Beale and Kerevi outside him.

        They go up quickly and shut the attack down well.

        I wonder if this was part of the players call? Wherever it came from I hope it is persisted with.

        Was frustrated after Beale did such a good job on SBW last year and then they went back to hiding him.

        • Columnist

          June 12th 2018 @ 4:02pm
          Nicholas Bishop said | June 12th 2018 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

          For the most part it was a mix Jez.

          Foley defended in the trams, 10-12-13 was Hooper-Beale-Kerevi, Koroibete always defended on the open wing. DHP and Folau split F/B and the blind wing between them.

          The lineout you’re referring to was a goal-line affair, where teams will typically adopt a formation they don’t use further upfield 🙂

      • June 12th 2018 @ 9:37am
        Noodles said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:37am | ! Report

        Cheika deserves a great deal of credit for his patience if nothing else. The highlights this week were fitness and accuracy. Plus he had at last a tough, skilled and fit tight five who took it to a very tough and skilled opposition.
        The forwards and especially the engine room gave everyone else – pooper and the backs – a bit of room to play.
        The big negative was poor kicking. Line outs I saw close up were a timing issue, the ball going to the right place but simply a moment from the contact target. Fixable.
        Forwards look great. Backs too, but for the kicking accuracy and kerevi’s discomfort in defence.
        This week we need to go up a peg and win some front foot ball. And the backs need to sort out the kicking game.

    • June 12th 2018 @ 5:31am
      John said | June 12th 2018 @ 5:31am | ! Report

      Nice write-up Brett, thanks. I thought the game was closer than some are suggesting, especially with the Irish crossing twice with nothing to show for it. I’m also struggling to understand how Genia could get the official MOTM award when as you say Pocock and Beale both played superbly. Sure Pocock gave away a couple of penalties but the breakdown ambiguity is where he plies his trade.

      • June 12th 2018 @ 6:16am
        PiratesRugby said | June 12th 2018 @ 6:16am | ! Report

        The free to air coverage on ch10 could hardly bring themselves to speak Pocock’s name. It was comical. They fell over themselves lauding Hooper, Foley, Beale and Folau though.

        • June 12th 2018 @ 1:38pm
          Daveski said | June 12th 2018 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

          Not true. Burkey acknowledged Pocock constantly.

          Gordon Bray has eyes only for Kurtley that’s true.

          • June 12th 2018 @ 10:18pm
            PoratesRugby said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:18pm | ! Report

            You’re wrong. He had to mention Pocock when there was a turnover (sometimes) or a try but in general play they just ignored Pocock while talking up Hooper and Beale. To be fair, Beale looked pretty impressive out there. Genia and Beale are genuine world class playmakers. Poor Foley is just a journeyman.
            I was so relieved when I came onto the Roar that everyone else agreed Pocock played another blinder. I thought I was going mad watching the game and listening to Burke and Bray.

      • June 12th 2018 @ 9:44am
        AlBo said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:44am | ! Report

        It really bothers me how much Beale’s importance on the Australian and NSW teams often goes under reported. We talk so much about the Pocock’s, Genias, Folaus etc. but for me Beale is the single most important player in the Australian team and his maturity and growth as a person and player is nothing short of exceptional.

        Beale has become a leader on the field, not just in the traditional sense, but in an almost spiritual sense. His passion is evident in everything he does, he screams at his players to pick up their game and is the first to congratulate them when they score. He has become a talisman to this team and I’m genuinely proud of the work he’s done on and off the field over the years. Yes he made some mistakes that some people (particularly on here) can’t let go of, but he’s done everything to repay the faith.

        He was next in line for MOTM with Pocock in my eyes and I feel like vice-captaincy should be something considered for him.

        • June 12th 2018 @ 11:18am
          ColC said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:18am | ! Report

          Albo agree 100%. Curtley is often the first to congratule try scorers because his always there backing up. He is always popping up to support his team mates. His aggression in defence is also inspiring. With the energy he has , you have to accept that sometimes the bounce of the ball may go wrong. But Curtley will be on his feet again giving 100%
          .

          • June 12th 2018 @ 11:40am
            Colc said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:40am | ! Report

            My apologies Kurtley , I really drop the ball there with my spelling. It happens to the best and worst of us.

        • June 12th 2018 @ 3:41pm
          Akari said | June 12th 2018 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

          Beale was stood down from the team on Thursday for sending “inappropriate and deeply offensive text messages” referencing Wallabies business manager Di Patston.

          He was also involved in a heated mid-air exchange with Patston. (https://www.news.com.au/sport/rugby/kurtley-beale-di-patston-texting-drama-explained/news-story/e220cf1293438a216b71751071424f74)

          Patston settled out of court with the ARU for an undisclosed amount

          Lest we have forgotten…

          As much as I enjoy watching him play rugby, Kurtley Beale should never ever be in line to be a vice captain or captain of the WBs.

          • Roar Rookie

            June 12th 2018 @ 7:42pm
            Die hard said | June 12th 2018 @ 7:42pm | ! Report

            Yep agree.

          • June 14th 2018 @ 5:36am
            Faith said | June 14th 2018 @ 5:36am | ! Report

            Lol. Amigo days.

        • June 12th 2018 @ 5:41pm
          double agent said | June 12th 2018 @ 5:41pm | ! Report

          KB had a great game no doubt but he’s had his fair share of shockers too.

      • June 12th 2018 @ 10:04am
        jameswm said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:04am | ! Report

        I actually thought the margin was significantly bigger than the scoreline suggested.

        We beat them up in the tight 5, scored 1 and would probably have scored another that were pulled up (one blatantly wrongly and the other arguably), the Irish were off side almost the whole time in defence, neck rolls, and some poor options and ball control by us. Hold onto the ball and we win by 20+.

        • June 12th 2018 @ 10:57am
          MitchO said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:57am | ! Report

          James we coughed up too much ball in the second phase. From memory we lost a few too many out wide. They also nearly scored two tries and Sexton missed a sitter in front of goal.

          If KB can defend like that again then we are in business but if not then things will be more difficult.

        • Roar Guru

          June 12th 2018 @ 11:41am
          PeterK said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:41am | ! Report

          the ar calling folau’s pass forward after it went back and hit the tip and bounced forward was a joke especially when the ref saw it and it was fine, ref should have ignored him.

          However Koroiebete was well covered by the defence and yes would have made a fair few metres but I doubt a try would have been scored.

          • June 12th 2018 @ 9:49pm
            ClarkeG said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:49pm | ! Report

            I doubt the AR was silly enough to call the pass forward simply because it went forward after bouncing on the ground. Surely he would know better than that.

            A referee might overlook the call of his ARs in such situations if he is confident the pass is fine however his AR in this instance was in a better position than he was so good luck to any referee that will ignore his ARs in similar circumstances.

        • Roar Guru

          June 12th 2018 @ 11:44am
          PeterK said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:44am | ! Report

          Most rucks Pocock got a good position the irish used a neck roll on him and it was totally ignored.

          They were not hidden , they were obvious. Yet the tmo who has a lot of time not once picked this up.

          This is galling when it is more dangerous than the head high tackles that just glance and get an automatic penalty.

          Also far more dangerous than a tackle of a decoy player that the tmo couldn’t wait to bring to the refs attention.

          Hooper fails here in not bringing this to the refs attention everytime.

          • Roar Rookie

            June 12th 2018 @ 1:18pm
            piru said | June 12th 2018 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

            Forget the TMO, what was the ref looking at if not the ruck!?

            They’ll no doubt continue doing this as long as they get away with it, taking Pocock on head on looks as though it would be like trying to clear out a parked bulldozer.

            • Roar Guru

              June 12th 2018 @ 1:24pm
              PeterK said | June 12th 2018 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

              the ref depending on his position can easily miss the neck roll.

              He also has so much to look at, entry angles, players on their feet, playing the ball on the ground, players not rolling away. I imagine when they are attempting to cleanout Pocock and using the neck roll the ref is looking at the ball and whether the ball carrier is holding on and if pocock is supporting his own weight.

              However no excuse for a TMO, all the time in the world. The AR’s should also pick it up, they shouldn’t be look at the ball.

              The captain though should bring it up with the ref once it happens and then there is no excuse for the ref to not look for it.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 12th 2018 @ 1:28pm
                piru said | June 12th 2018 @ 1:28pm | ! Report

                Yep, but pretty hard to miss two blokes rolling out of a tackle / ruck situation, particularly when it happens repeatedly

          • June 12th 2018 @ 9:55pm
            ClarkeG said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:55pm | ! Report

            I’ll say it again. Outlaw the body roll and you solve the neck roll problem.

            • Roar Rookie

              June 13th 2018 @ 7:47am
              Paulo said | June 13th 2018 @ 7:47am | ! Report

              That may create more issues. The body roll is the mechanism to move opposition sideways out of a ruck. Seeing as you can’t drive in from the side, this is the most effective way to clear a body sideways. Removing this means you have to drive them backwards, you can only come from behind the last feet, so effectively you will be creating missiles in an effort to blast people backwards. This would encourage much more heavy driving contact than there already is. I think we just need more consistency in identifying rolls and (audibly swallows) more TMO involvement.

            • June 13th 2018 @ 8:10am
              Baz said | June 13th 2018 @ 8:10am | ! Report

              I wouldn’t outlaw it. I think it is a major part of lower impact ruck clean out play. I think it is relatively easy to police. No gripping above the arm pits.

    • Roar Guru

      June 12th 2018 @ 5:37am
      Harry Jones said | June 12th 2018 @ 5:37am | ! Report

      Thanks, Brett.

      Was lovely to see the Wallabies take the Irish down.

      Not too many excuses about the “end of a long tiring season” from the NH scribes, although it does seem to be a routine alibi.

      Note: SH stars like Hooper, Beale, Am, Mostert, Pollard, Kerevi, and Rodda have all played 1,000 or so SR minutes. And Faf and Willie seemed fine!

      I predict a much better Irish effort in Melbourne.

      • June 12th 2018 @ 7:53am
        Neil Back said | June 12th 2018 @ 7:53am | ! Report

        Always seems a bit disingenuous to refer to an alibi when comparative game time has been so comprehensively documented on here so many times before – although everyone’s given up on Tman.

        It’s true the Irish can and have managed players like Sexton but by comparison, a player like Farrell plays significantly more with the English set up. Let’s also not lump together ‘NH scribes’.

        • June 12th 2018 @ 7:57am
          Fionn said | June 12th 2018 @ 7:57am | ! Report

          Interesting that tennis players don’t complain about feeling a little tired at the end of the year. Nor do SH players/fans the same way.

          The reason it’s an alibi is because it’s always there to explain away any loss as somehow not really counting. Which begs the question, why play the series at all if the NH players are too tired and need a rest?

          • Roar Guru

            June 12th 2018 @ 8:03am
            Harry Jones said | June 12th 2018 @ 8:03am | ! Report

            Also, a minute in the Aviva is not the same as a minute in Super Rugby. That’s been GPSed.

            • June 12th 2018 @ 11:33am
              Neil Back said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:33am | ! Report

              Like I said. Entire seasons have been documented before, including by Experts like Nick. But you stick with your minute. That’s fine.

              • June 12th 2018 @ 11:36am
                Fionn said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:36am | ! Report

                Pretty convenient excuse to have though, eh, Neil?

                If you lose then it doesn’t really count as your players are tired. And if you win it is doubly as impressive as you win despite your players being tired, which means it’s even more impressive.

              • June 12th 2018 @ 1:25pm
                Neil Back said | June 12th 2018 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

                It would be if I was using it as such Fionn. And it would be if anyone else in the England camp ever used it. Inconveniently for you, no one is.

              • Roar Guru

                June 12th 2018 @ 11:44am
                Ralph said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:44am | ! Report

                Oh I see how this works now.

                Can I say right now then, on that basis, that all Kiwi players are always totally exhausted.

              • June 12th 2018 @ 1:33pm
                Fionn said | June 12th 2018 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

                Don’t be coy, Neil. Harry said he didn’t want it as an excuse/alibi and you replied by denying that it was an alibi.

                You may not have stated in as many words that it is an excuse, but by contradicting Harry on the matter it amounts to the same thing.

              • June 12th 2018 @ 4:26pm
                Neil Back said | June 12th 2018 @ 4:26pm | ! Report

                You might want to look up the word ‘disingenuous’ Fionn. I could use smaller words if it would help?

                Btw, been called many things but never ‘coy’.

              • June 12th 2018 @ 4:38pm
                Fionn said | June 12th 2018 @ 4:38pm | ! Report

                No, I know the meaning quite well, thanks, Neil.

                Insulting someone else’s intelligence is always the sign that someone is a mature and intelligent person themselves, eh, Neil?

              • June 12th 2018 @ 9:17pm
                Neil Back said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:17pm | ! Report

                Only trying to help Fionn.

              • June 13th 2018 @ 10:00am
                Fionn said | June 13th 2018 @ 10:00am | ! Report

                Thanks quite alright, Neil, although I do appreciate your concern.

          • Roar Guru

            June 12th 2018 @ 8:44am
            Derm McCrum said | June 12th 2018 @ 8:44am | ! Report

            Ah here, Fionn. There are endless comments from SANZAAR fans about end of long season, travel to accompany losing results in November tests.

            It’s the same mantra from all fans.

            • Roar Guru

              June 12th 2018 @ 9:21am
              Machooka said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:21am | ! Report

              Yeah agree Poth… it’s all a bit tiring eh!?! 😉

            • June 12th 2018 @ 9:44am
              Fionn said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:44am | ! Report

              I haven’t noticed that to the same degree, Poth, but either way it’s a tired excuse that shouldn’t work either way.

            • Roar Rookie

              June 12th 2018 @ 11:03am
              tsuru said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:03am | ! Report

              Gee, why are we taking any notice of excuses from fans. Let’s get stuck into any players or coaches that start making excuses if they make them, but ignore excuses from “fans.” Maybe some “fans” are getting tired (and emotional?) at the end of a hard posting season.

          • June 12th 2018 @ 8:54am
            Daveski said | June 12th 2018 @ 8:54am | ! Report

            They definitely play more football in the north and tennis players don’t get belted either.

            • June 12th 2018 @ 11:03am
              Fionn said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:03am | ! Report

              But in most tournaments they play every single day. In Grand Slams they play at least every second day.

              Season is from January to November. Often in extremely high temperatures and often for hours and hours.

              In Ireland they don’t play more football?

            • Roar Rookie

              June 12th 2018 @ 11:15am
              tsuru said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:15am | ! Report

              I think, to choose an admittedly extreme example, that Nadal and Djokovic would have felt somewhat “belted” after nearly 6 hours on court mid summer in the Australian Open final in 2012. And there have been many tennis matches in majors and Davis Cup of over 5 hours without players making excuses. I suppose it’s a matter for research as to which is more debilitating – 80 minutes on a rugby field getting belted, or 5 or more hours racing around a tennis court.

              • June 12th 2018 @ 1:37pm
                Daveski said | June 12th 2018 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

                The top guys are warriors no doubt and tennis is a very draining sport and physically and mentally challenging. I play a fair bit and have some knowledge of the forces being applied to shoulders, wrists, elbows, knees….

                Just not sure you can compare it to a contact sport. It’s a different type of tiredness as I’m sure major league baseballers feel at the end of 162 games.

              • June 13th 2018 @ 3:04am
                cuw said | June 13th 2018 @ 3:04am | ! Report

                the main difference between a non contact game as opposed to a contact game is just that – contact.

                rugger , UFC, boxing , though of different time tend to be more taxing on the body than say tennis or cricket.

                one issue is the damages to the tissues and cells from contact. it affects the body more than admitted.

                the contact on head may or may not cause concussions for eg. but Mohamed Ali and a few other boxers in their later years showed the effects.

                if u see Pele now – again it shows the wear and tear of the body from his playing days.

                u dont see many tennis or cricket players having difficulties in later years.

                these people are idiots – they are basically killing the egg laying goose. too many games and soon rugger will lose most of their best.

                for eg – look at Billy V , he was nothing . he is comming back after a couple of injuries.
                rugger is anyway injury prone – so u need to rest the players as much as possible.

        • Roar Guru

          June 12th 2018 @ 10:01am
          taylorman said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:01am | ! Report

          Yeah sure Neil, they all just happen to play the same international comp, similar club comps, lions tours and they all come here and fail first up.

          Doesnt get any more lumped together than that.

          • June 12th 2018 @ 11:44am
            Neil Back said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:44am | ! Report

            You never did do that weekend reading we set you did you? Habit of a lifetime that will only continue to hold you back buddy.

            • Roar Guru

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

              Ive since acknowledged the heavier workload of the englishplayers and have mentioned it several times, leading up to this series as well and the poor 6N performances by England.

              But in the end it doesnt matter. Everyone knew this this tour was on when the Lions toured. That England doesnt manage its resources well is their own fault. We got told of all this depth, the under 20s etc yet somehow theres now fre coming through and the Itojes of this world are going backwards.

              Theyre still plundering players and adopting players like Shields whom i believe his parents arrived here as kids!

              All that money, resources and it all combined into one big mess.

              No sympathy im afraid. Tiredness isnt an excuse, it was a deliberate feature of the system so they need to work around it.

              • June 12th 2018 @ 1:20pm
                Neil Back said | June 12th 2018 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

                It’s not an excuse, just a fact that many won’t accept and denied sympathy no one is asking for.

                Also sounds like I should be the bitter one. Thankfully you have taken that task on for me. Much appreciated.

              • Roar Guru

                June 12th 2018 @ 3:50pm
                taylorman said | June 12th 2018 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

                No worries, watching the strongest and richest country in our game stuff it all up through sheer greed isnt doing our game any good at all.

                England and France buy and buy and play and play to fill as much coffers as they can to the detriment of whats good in rugby.

                Bringing our youth through to replace those before them. Your under 20s are a sideshow. They get so far then their career paths are stunted and fractured by the clubs and coaches like Jones who only sees the next winning post.

                Just comes back to the same old cliche. No idea. Last two years most NH posters were painting pictures of the changing of the guard, that the depth is real… this time…. yet once again, like 2015 a crash of the top sides on tours that may not get any better.

                Depth is what is used to iffset tiredness. Yet no evidence of that yet, bar probably Ireland, who have the best chance of salvaging a 2-1 win but even thats unlikely.

                Not getting at you Neil but the scope if the irresponsible management of the game is huge, especially when our sides are scraping the barrell to replace bought players, cope with injuries.

                You not only your own depth, you have ours as well! And oz, SA’s.

                Losses like the ones last weekend are genuine cases of karma.

              • June 12th 2018 @ 9:06pm
                Drongo said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:06pm | ! Report

                Geez mate. Now your slamming England? Must be very lonely up their on your high horse. Perfect and pious, preaching from the pulpit of NZ rugby. Superior, smug. Ugly,

              • Roar Guru

                June 13th 2018 @ 12:17am
                taylorman said | June 13th 2018 @ 12:17am | ! Report

                Always have drongo, theyre ruining the game with their greedy clubs. They buy up your players and ours and run them all into the ground just for the sake of selling seats. A pity you dont see the impact its having on the test level.

      • Roar Guru

        June 12th 2018 @ 10:24am
        Ralph said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:24am | ! Report

        As a SH man, wo doesn’t get to see much NH rugby, I have to say I was seriously underwhelmed with Billy Vunipola.

        Is he carrying an injury, played too much this year??

        • June 12th 2018 @ 10:54am
          Boomeranga said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:54am | ! Report

          He’s been out injured a long time. I don’t know if he still injured but something biggish must have befell him to miss so much of this year.

        • June 13th 2018 @ 3:08am
          cuw said | June 13th 2018 @ 3:08am | ! Report

          he has played little rugger for 3 months if i recall.

          he played Aviva finals but think had a couple of injuries before that.

          he is not match fit and playing in rare air does not help

          even Nathan Hughes was injured if i remember.

          • June 14th 2018 @ 5:54am
            Faith said | June 14th 2018 @ 5:54am | ! Report

            Billy Vunipola was a an overweight beast before EJ put his mitts on him and convinced him to lose weight so that he could go 80 but also go crazy at the gym so he could retain his natural power. All the new muscle and strain has ended up in new injuries for muscles Billy did not know he had. Amd as Tman mentions a Sarries and EJ schedule would be too much for most. Billy needs a ‘sabbatical’ as his post-match interview showed with a lol weirdness. It was EJ Kool Aid at work …

    • June 12th 2018 @ 6:12am
      Worlds Biggest said | June 12th 2018 @ 6:12am | ! Report

      Great win for your Bokke Harry, well done mate. They will be a different prospect under Erasmus.

      Regarding the Wallas, that work ethic and effort will be needed again in Melbourne. Ireland will likely have 5 or 6 changes. I still can’t figure out why Beale or DHP don’t do the exit kicking for the whole game. The Genia m.o.m was voted by fans apparently so plenty of hometown viewers gave him the nod. He was good however Pocock was the standout followed by Beale.

      Macca I have watched a replay of the game a couple of times now, Timu was very quiet. He just never really got into the game, granted it was his first cap but perhaps he is a bit underdone, thoughts ?

      • Roar Guru

        June 12th 2018 @ 12:52pm
        Machooka said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

        Biggest… agree about your thoughts on Timu being a bit ‘quiet’. Mind you his two other amigos weren’t 🙂

        I’m just happy he got through the game without any major personal faux pas… and hence was exposed to some pretty intense Test rugby.

        He will be better for it… and hopefully he’ll go into the next Test with more confidence.

        • June 12th 2018 @ 5:22pm
          Worlds Biggest said | June 12th 2018 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

          Let’s hope so Chookie, I know it was his first hit out and he’s probably short of a gallop. I want him to play well as I don’t want to entertain the alternative being Poey to 8 and you know who at 6…….!

          • June 12th 2018 @ 11:17pm
            ThugbyFan said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:17pm | ! Report

            Worlds, ARU web site has been really talking up “U know Who” to be ready for the 2nd test. They haven’t said or hinted as to who gets the chop to allow your “U No Hoo” to come in, but of course it has to be L.Tui or C.Timu.

            Timu did a lot of tackling in the 1st 20 minutes, one BIG hit on an Irish forward about the 15th minute was a bellringer. He seemed to go quiet for a while then got a knock on the head and a HIA while Peter Samu came on. He did come back on for a while but was fairly quiet till replaced. Not a bad 1st test without setting the world on fire.

    • June 12th 2018 @ 6:24am
      PiratesRugby said | June 12th 2018 @ 6:24am | ! Report

      Brett, your analysis leads to the glaring weakness in the Wallabies being Foley. His greatest attributes seem to be that he kicks short range goals and that he is a conduit to Beale. Foley is not a playmaker. His tactical kicking is poor and inferior to Beale’s. Foley’s poor defence weakens our midfield defence in broken play.
      Whilst I dislike Beale and believe he should never have played for the Wallabies again after 2014, he clearly leaves Foley for dust as a playmaker. The Wallabies cannot win the RWC or Bled with Foley.

      • Roar Rookie

        June 12th 2018 @ 11:27am
        tsuru said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:27am | ! Report

        I dunno about that. I feel the first try was made by Foley’s quick hands in the face of a defender roaring through on him (Henshaw I think) and then backing up and positioning himself beautifully outside the tackle to take Genia’s pass. I see Foley as an important cog in a wheel with Genia, Beale and Folau as the other important playmaking cogs.

      • Roar Guru

        June 12th 2018 @ 11:54am
        PeterK said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:54am | ! Report

        PR – At least be balanced.

        Foley defended quite well against the irish, in fact everyone did except Koroiebete.

        He made the most tackles of any back 13, and only missed 1.

        Koirebete missed 5 and made 12.

        Also Foley’s strengths mesh well with Beale as the primary playamker. Foley is a very good support player, he runs good lines and is quick off the mark. He has a good pass when stationary. He is a running 12 playing in the 10 jersey.

        • June 12th 2018 @ 12:00pm
          Fionn said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

          Not all missed tackles are equal. I’m not a huge fan of Koroibete’s defence, but like Hooper he rushes up and tries to make a dominant hit behind the gain-line. Foley’s are more often in the line – the miss on Stander was very costly.

          Foley’s defence does not match up with Beale’s weaknesses at all. They’re actually similar players in a lot of ways, Beale is just world class is the difference.

          • Roar Guru

            June 12th 2018 @ 12:05pm
            PeterK said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:05pm | ! Report

            The fact is Foley only missed one tackle despite being made to make a lot and often against big forwards.

            I said Foleys strengths mesh with Beale not his defence.

            Foley being a very good support player and runner of the ball meshes well with Beale as the playmaker, the loop arounds and so forth.

        • June 12th 2018 @ 1:01pm
          Drongo said | June 12th 2018 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

          All true. In this game Foley was very good.

      • June 12th 2018 @ 5:49pm
        double agent said | June 12th 2018 @ 5:49pm | ! Report

        I wish I had a dollar for every anti Foley rant from the Pirate I’ve read on here!!

    • June 12th 2018 @ 6:43am
      tamaolevao said | June 12th 2018 @ 6:43am | ! Report

      Nice write and as usual great analysis
      A couple of things stood out to me with the new look wallabies
      1. Why pick a ball runner / player in Timu when youre not goinng to use him? I mean alot of the times he was there pocock or colemen were effectively taking the runs to generate front foot ball , i thought pocock played awesome but let these young kids take responsibility for why they were picked this buils depth . If pocoock and hooper play like how they did every test with this added help / enthusiasm from the pack as a all blacks supporter id be worried for sure
      2. Izzys ball playing skills work better when hes actually running with the ball towards the defensive line , hes got a neat late offload in traffic which is his strength, standing almost stationery trying to throw a spiral cutout pass is not his forte, he needs practice passing with a rugby ball which tends to float more than a league ball which cuts through the air more and gets down quicker when looped
      3. Is it to early to make folau captian ? Ive sproted this idea many times its looks now that there are so many pacific islanders representation this may be the time for cheika to do it , i mean if anyone was to do it for team reasons not worried about public perception it’ll be chieka ,
      Great to see koribeti play awesome still getting found out a bit but ripped in harder than ive seen play at any level
      Well played wallabies hope to more of the same in ghe second test

      • June 12th 2018 @ 7:06am
        Fionn said | June 12th 2018 @ 7:06am | ! Report

        I think there is close to 0% chance of Folau being made captain.

        Also, what is the logic behind ‘there are lots of Pacific Islanders in the Wallabies therefore we need a PI captain?’ That doesn’t make much sense to me.

        • June 12th 2018 @ 7:31am
          tamaolevao said | June 12th 2018 @ 7:31am | ! Report

          Too early yeah….you probably wonder why there’s a welcome to county as well I guess….
          I mean hooper makes really good Decions yeah? Mate he couldn’t decide wether to kick the penalty or go for a try!!!
          Folau would be better son don’t doubt it

          • June 12th 2018 @ 7:54am
            Fionn said | June 12th 2018 @ 7:54am | ! Report

            No, I’m massively supportive of welcome to country. Context of Welcome to Country is very different given the history of Australia.

            What evidence is there that Folau would be better at all? He’s never displayed any leadership or tactical nous.

            Folau is also public enemy number 1 in the media and a lot of the public. So… no.

            Genia and Pocock were the ones discussing with Hooper in the leadership group, so if anything it should be one of them.

            • June 12th 2018 @ 8:01am
              Fionn said | June 12th 2018 @ 8:01am | ! Report

              Beale displays more leadership than Folau and is more of a decision-maker. He would make a far better captain than Folau also. Also more meaningful given Australia’s history.

              • Roar Guru

                June 12th 2018 @ 8:50am
                Wal said | June 12th 2018 @ 8:50am | ! Report

                +1 on Beale, he really seems to have grown into himself in the last 2 years or so.

                Genia and Pocock would be my picks.

                Folau just doesn’t know the game well enough, in the final 10 minutes of a tight test I just don’t think he has been playing long enough to make a gut call.

                Sorry, Tamaolevao but picking any captain based on race is ridiculous the best person for the job is just that regardless of skin colour.

              • June 12th 2018 @ 3:56pm
                Akari said | June 12th 2018 @ 3:56pm | ! Report

                Kurtley Beale is yet to apologise to Di Patson, Fionn. He’s not a captain and should never ever be considered as such.

              • June 12th 2018 @ 4:03pm
                Fionn said | June 12th 2018 @ 4:03pm | ! Report

                I wasn’t aware he hadn’t apologised. Bou’re right that after that particular episode to question whether he should ever be made captain despite his increased maturity…

              • Roar Guru

                June 12th 2018 @ 6:20pm
                PeterK said | June 12th 2018 @ 6:20pm | ! Report

                Akari – In his text messages Beale apologises to the twice.

                I believe he also did when meeting her personally.

                I don’t know if he did publicly or a formal letter.

          • June 12th 2018 @ 8:29am
            Frank said | June 12th 2018 @ 8:29am | ! Report

            Genia or Pocock for captain before Hooper. Both are automatic picks and both would manage the ref better (although not sure if genia has genuine following in the team?)

        • June 12th 2018 @ 10:55am
          P2R2 said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:55am | ! Report

          why….after all they are the MAJORITY…

          • June 12th 2018 @ 2:18pm
            Fionn said | June 12th 2018 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

            What is your point? Does that mean we shouldn’t have an Aboriginal captain because they’re not a majority in the team?

            The captain should be the best captain regardless of their ethnic background.

      • June 12th 2018 @ 10:06am
        jameswm said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:06am | ! Report

        If you speak to the Pac Islanders in the Aussie team, there is no doubt Kepu is their spiritual leader. Tupou even calls him uncle.

        • Roar Rookie

          June 12th 2018 @ 10:25am
          Paul D said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:25am | ! Report

          Even Coleman calls him uncle.

          • June 12th 2018 @ 10:47am
            Fionn said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:47am | ! Report

            Coleman’s father captained Tonga. I don’t know if he considers himself Pacific Islander?

            He’s from Tasmania, so maybe he does based on that 😛

            • Roar Rookie

              June 12th 2018 @ 10:54am
              piru said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:54am | ! Report

              Southern Ocean Islander?

              • June 12th 2018 @ 10:58am
                Fionn said | June 12th 2018 @ 10:58am | ! Report

                Touche….

            • Roar Rookie

              June 12th 2018 @ 11:00am
              Paul D said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:00am | ! Report

              Yeah I dunno if it is so much a PI thing or just a nickname in the team.

              Uncle Keps

              • June 12th 2018 @ 11:26am
                jameswm said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:26am | ! Report

                I saw or heard an interview with Tupou and it sounded like a respect thing, from him anyway.

                I also saw Sio and AA interviewed and when asked who was the spiritual leader of the Pac Islander boys in the Wallabies, they said without hesitation Keps 1, and then Taf 2.

              • June 12th 2018 @ 11:28am
                Fionn said | June 12th 2018 @ 11:28am | ! Report

                Saw the same interview, James.

                TPN would have made, and would still make, a great Wallaby captain. It’s just a bit awkward to have a captain who isn’t playing in Australia.

              • Roar Guru

                June 12th 2018 @ 12:31pm
                jeznez said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

                Palu used to lead the group but definitely looks like Kepu does now.

              • Roar Guru

                June 12th 2018 @ 1:35pm
                John R said | June 12th 2018 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

                And Izzy is number 3 in the hierarchy

            • Roar Guru

              June 12th 2018 @ 12:30pm
              jeznez said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

              He’s also related to Inoke Afeaki and Rod Blake – I’ve seen comments from him as a proud Tongan

          • June 14th 2018 @ 5:59am
            Faith said | June 14th 2018 @ 5:59am | ! Report

            Uncle Thugby

            • June 14th 2018 @ 8:33pm
              ThugbyFan said | June 14th 2018 @ 8:33pm | ! Report

              Yeah to my uncle Sekope T. 🙂

        • Roar Guru

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

          I like the captain to be a forward or the halfback.

          TPN , very thoughtful and articulate would have made a very good captain.

          Kepu perhaps as well.

          However I also prefer my captain to play 80 mins unless the game is won.

          This rules these 2 out.

          Coleman hasn’t captained that well for the rebels but is on an upwards curve.

          Pocock and Genia are the clear best choices.

          I would go Pocock and play him at 7 and Hooper can then go the bench against teams with a strong kicking game and lineout.
          Against some teams Pooper may be right tactic.

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

            Yeah, I have zero issue with a PI captain – I don’t care what the ethnic background of a captain is, although I think it would be really cool to see a PI or especially an Indigenous captain. I think Samu will one day captain the Wallabies, I just don’t think Folau has displayed the attributes of a captain whatsoever.

            • Roar Guru

              June 12th 2018 @ 12:45pm
              PeterK said | June 12th 2018 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

              agree, also dislike captaincy from the backs especially from the outside ones.

              Most of the issues are in scrums, rucks, mauls and lineouts.

              Need a captain who understands the pros and cons of the issues in these areas to take up with the ref and find a solution.

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

                Ben Smith is a good captain. Smart rugby players make good captains regardless of their position.

                Mortlock was a decent captain too I thought, although he wasn’t in the class I think Mowen was.

              • June 12th 2018 @ 1:45pm
                tamaolevao said | June 12th 2018 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

                Fair enough fionn
                I just see the leadership group as being tainted as a bunch whiners …..
                All refs know what to expect when hooper , Pocock Beale are gonna be like when they approach all hands waving in the air with the usual sir!!! Wasn’t us mate have a look at them sir ….
                As for uncle Kepu the cheap shot merchant I don’t know famz he’s got too many penalties in him plus he’s not scared to punch on if provoked plus he dosent play a full game …not the ideal temperament …
                As for Izzy perfect guy better temperament and all the lads I know all respect him as much as anyone else you’ve all mentioned …..

              • Roar Guru

                June 12th 2018 @ 1:38pm
                Wal said | June 12th 2018 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

                Fionn interesting that Ben Smith is Co-Capt with Ash Dixon.

                The rugbypass podcast had a great bit on them tag teaming the Ref in the Canes match.
                Apparently really got under Shields skin.

                Mowen was a huge loss to Aussie could have been a 5+ year project.

              • June 12th 2018 @ 9:39pm
                Worlds Biggest said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:39pm | ! Report

                Wal can’t agree with you about Mowen, solid player and good skipper. Bit of a Steve Borthwick situ, selected for his captaincy skills more than talent. Mowen benefited from playing in a strong Brumbies team in 2013, picked for Lions series and took over as skipper when Dingo was punted from memory.

                As for his actual play, he was good in the lineout and solid defence but his ball carrying was not up to it. He has carved out a nice career in France however I don’t think he was hugely missed at International Level. Scott Fardy came on the scene midway through the 2013 Rugby Championship and was just about an automatic selection from then on. He got better with age and has just finished a superb season with Leinster.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 12th 2018 @ 2:55pm
                piru said | June 12th 2018 @ 2:55pm | ! Report

                As for Izzy perfect guy better temperament and all the lads I know all respect him as much as anyone else you’ve all mentioned

                What happens when they play under Nigel Owens?

              • June 12th 2018 @ 4:32pm
                tamaolevao said | June 12th 2018 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

                Interesting premise ….being under Nigel and all..ummm
                I think that is what marketing people call “ratings bonanza “ as most fair weather wallaby supports will tune in to see if there’s going to be some dramas my bro ……

                As for you’re name PIRU I remember visiting my family in LA was in Carson for a week man I was scared out of my brains they took down to Compton to see family drove through piru I was saying my prayers man I was terrified …
                Kind of like you man scary 😂😂

              • June 12th 2018 @ 9:10pm
                Drongo said | June 12th 2018 @ 9:10pm | ! Report

                Nothing happens. They are mature adults, not spiteful children, like some on here.

              • June 12th 2018 @ 3:11pm
                Fionn said | June 12th 2018 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

                Agree to disagree on Folau, tamaolevao.

                However, I am with you that it would be really awesome to see a PI captain of the Wallabies. An Indigenous Wallaby captain would be fantastic as well. Personally, I just don’t think Folau displays leadership attributes in my mind.

                I honestly think that Cheika sees Samu Kerevi as a future Wallaby captain. I look up to that lad so much, and I hope he continues to grow as a player and as a leader.

                Does PNG count as PI? I think Genia would make a great captain too.

              • Roar Rookie

                June 12th 2018 @ 5:53pm
                piru said | June 12th 2018 @ 5:53pm | ! Report

                tama I had no idea the pirus were a gang till just now, man I feel like a clown

                I hope I haven’t upset any bloods or something

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