Wallabies question Irish blocking of Folau


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    The Wallabies are set to speak to match officials about their main attacking weapon Israel Folau being blunted by what they consider Ireland’s illegal blocking tactics.

    While they concede their discipline and kicking both needed to improve after the second Test loss in Melbourne, Wallabies officials were concerned by some of the tactics employed by Ireland.

    Apart from blocking high-flying fullback Folau, they questioned the way Ireland slowed Australia’s ball at the breakdown and the policing of off-the-ball incidents like the one in which halfback Will Genia suffered a broken arm from an alleged king-hit.

    Genia will be out for six weeks and on Monday Waratahs halfback Jake Gordon was added to the squad.

    Attack coach Stephen Larkham revealed officials had spoken to the Wallabies camp before the second Test about the team’s involvement in off-the-ball incidents in the previous game in Brisbane.

    He suggested it might be Australia’s turn to seek meetings before the Sydney decider.

    “It’s in our hands. It’s something that we have to sit down with the referees and discuss,” Larkham said in reference to Folau being impeded as he sought to contest high balls.

    “They might have a different opinion and every team in world rugby uses it and every team in Super Rugby uses it as well.

    “But for us I think it’s two-fold. It’s one, getting the kicks accurate so that our chasers aren’t running between two or three guys, and then to bring it to the referees’ attention just to make sure that everything is legal there.

    “I think Ireland did a fantastic job at slowing the ball down and again you’ve got to look at their tactics and say: is it something we need to bring up with the referee?”

    Larkham said Australia had to have the mentality of making line breaks and breaking tackles, as well as addressing three elements of their kicking game.

    “There’s putting the ball out, there’s execution and accuracy of our kicks, and then looking at our chase line and how we can fix that,” he said.

    Officials were hoping lock Adam Coleman would recover from a head knock in time for Saturday’s game.

    Larkham foreshadowed changes to the 23 for the final Test, though he was reluctant to nominate individuals bar Nick Phipps, the replacement for Genia.

    “I expect there will be really good fight in the team this week; it’s really good preparations for the World Cup isn’t it?” Larkham said.

    “We’re going to make a few changes this week… it will be really good to see the resolve of the guys.”

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    The Crowd Says (26)

    • June 19th 2018 @ 8:42am
      jameswm said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:42am | ! Report

      Folau was naive. He should have run straight for the ball, gone to ground when blocked, then he wold have got action. Instead, he spent so much time watching the blockers that he wasn’t in position to jump for the ball. If he ends up on the ground, the video will have a look and if any Irish player changed directions to block him (which they did every time), they’ll be picked up.

      There were other off the ball incidents too – like when Foley was held back trying to make a try saving tackle. The try wasn’t given, but why on earth didn’t they bring this to the ref’s attention.

      In these days of video checking everything,w e need a captain who knows the rules better than Hoops. That IMO is his biggest failing.

      • Roar Rookie

        June 19th 2018 @ 9:02am
        Paulo said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:02am | ! Report

        Maybe they need more communication to Hooper about these instances. I’m sure he would have seen the blockers, but did he see Foley being held onto? If he doesn’t know then he can’t bring it up. Once he does it a lot more often he can start adjusting his approach to see how best to get the ref to consider it. It does seem he is the capt for the next period or so, so maybe start working on improving these aspects.

        • June 19th 2018 @ 1:17pm
          jameswm said | June 19th 2018 @ 1:17pm | ! Report

          He’s not the only one who;’s a but too naive. Why wasn’t Foley telling Hooper about it?

          • Roar Rookie

            June 19th 2018 @ 3:01pm
            Paulo said | June 19th 2018 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

            Absolutely, the guys around Hooper need to give him the evidence or the info to raise these issues with the Refs. If he has his head buried in ruck half the game, he is going to miss a lot.

      • Roar Guru

        June 19th 2018 @ 4:16pm
        Timbo (L) said | June 19th 2018 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

        As is mentioned in the article, “Blockers” are common practice in world rugby.
        Hold your line, stay out of the drop zone, and you are fine.
        If you run into one, you are the one in the wrong, you are not allowed to make contact with an opposition player without the ball.

        I am not saying I agree with the practice, but I accept that it is the norm.

        The Rules state that any player in an offside position shall take no part in the game.
        My takeaway is that to act in the spirit of the law, just like rolling away from a ruck, you need to actively get out of the way of any onside players.
        The current interpretation allows you to hold your line, but doesn’t account for lazy runners.

        Dummy runners is another example
        Also a tactic that I call Gate Posting – a fullback running the ball back from the deep, runs between 2 of his own players loitering at a depth where the opposition are likely to make contact, creating a blocking screen for them to run through.

        To me all 3 examples has the offside players taking part in the game, and could be “Interpreted” as foul play.

        The last one, is often used by Folau himself to great effect. Glass houses.

        • Roar Rookie

          June 23rd 2018 @ 4:02pm
          Kirky said | June 23rd 2018 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

          There is no such thing as a ”Blocker” or any Law regarding such a thing, ~you can be anywhere you like on the field providing you’re onside!

          It would be a sad day if a Law was brought about to the effect Larkham and Co’ are speaking about, “when an Opposition player or players have put themselves into a position on a field to nullify any Opposition player regardless of what position he plays in and that said place on the field nullifies the targeted Opposition Player thereby stopping that player from doing what he wants to do! ~ That’s what the game’s about, stopping the Opposition from scoring, no more no less!

          That is good Coaching and if those pesky Nullifiers’ do happen to cause grief to the targeted player, in this case Folau, bad luck to him, ~ how can it be illegal?

      • June 19th 2018 @ 8:43pm
        AJ said | June 19th 2018 @ 8:43pm | ! Report

        Maybe they need to stop squealing every time a penalty goes against them, boy who cried wolf like.

        For example, Ryan’s slap down in the ruck would’ve gone down as a knock on if not for the side line official. This is simply because Phipps whinges like a spoilt toddler every time something goes against him and the ref just thought “here we go again, tantrum from baby Nick, better just ignore him”.

      • June 19th 2018 @ 10:28pm
        Villan said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:28pm | ! Report

        Can’t believe ur whinging about this. Every team on the planet does this as did the wallibies in the match. Watch it again without the gold tinted glasses. What makes it looks more prevalent was the piss poor quality of the Australian kickers. As for Ireland getting away with decisions. Wallibies continuous infringements on their own line ignored by ref. Should have been the same as the Irish decision. Peon try and yellow card. 2 deliberate knock owns no card. And more. And when I say ur I mean Larkham. Reckon it’s more to do with it being watched by officials in the decider.

    • June 19th 2018 @ 9:28am
      JP said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:28am | ! Report

      What a crock. He was disinterested all game.

      • June 19th 2018 @ 10:25am
        Cliff Bishkek said | June 19th 2018 @ 10:25am | ! Report

        That is an interesting point!! At times Folau does go missing in action!! Was he tweeting during the game. Maybe contacting his pastor!!

        • Roar Rookie

          June 19th 2018 @ 11:03am
          Paulo said | June 19th 2018 @ 11:03am | ! Report

          I think it is interesting. His defensive postioning has been noted a few times and needing work, and his ability to inject himself into the game and go looking for work has been noted a few times too. He is a powerful attacking player but seems to be taken out of the game with some specific tactics. The Crusaders figured it out in the second half of the Tahs game. Ireland seem to have figured it out in this second test.

          He is one of the best in kick/chase and broken play, but he needs to get smarter in where he injects himself and work more with Foley/Beale in getting himself in space, or by attracting defenders and getting other people in space. Defensive lines will always be mindful if they seem him in the backline so this can create the distraction and space someone like Beale can exploit.

          • June 19th 2018 @ 4:38pm
            cuw said | June 19th 2018 @ 4:38pm | ! Report

            i think it is coz he is fast becoming a two trick pony – catch up-and-unders and run at the line or chase up-and-unders and run.

            if u look at other fullbacks in the world – like Ben Smith , WLR, Kearney , Brown , halfpenny, Medard …. they get so much involved by coming into the line or providing options at a set piece.

            Folau mot of the time waits for the kicks and chases – and not much else.

    • June 19th 2018 @ 1:22pm
      Agent Orange Clown said | June 19th 2018 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

      Folau is so slow between the ears, absolute atrocious fullback in every facet bar running it back from kicks, hole running and catching a high ball.The imposter Folau lets more tries in than he scores.So he is negligible at 15.The other teams love playing him especially Scotland, England, All Blacks Ireland and South Africa- Oh Italy also loved him when they strolled past him 3 times in June 2017 .He also gifted them a try with a dumb quick throw in from 5 meteres out.You wont win a world cup with this paper mache bloke at the back.Throw in other Cheika jokers into his stew, Hooper Foley Phipps Hanigan Simmons Beale Robertson and you have the recipe for ” Woeful Wallabies “.

      • June 19th 2018 @ 2:31pm
        Fin said | June 19th 2018 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

        No state based agenda going on here.

        • June 19th 2018 @ 2:53pm
          JohnB said | June 19th 2018 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

          What has Folau ever done from fullback?


          Running kicks back? Oh sure but that comes from league.

          Hole running? Well yes of course that. Like the running kicks back thing

          Catching the high ball? Well yes – but Australian Rules

          Making the kick pass to the wing an attacking threat? Yes, but he wasn’t the very first to ever do that so it doesn’t really count.

          But apart from all those things what has he ever done? He’s not an absolutely complete fullback so clearly he’s no good.

          • Roar Rookie

            June 19th 2018 @ 4:30pm
            piru said | June 19th 2018 @ 4:30pm | ! Report


            That’s a little less than ‘not a complete’ fullback.

            That’s like 2/5ths of one at best

            • June 19th 2018 @ 9:36pm
              Drongo said | June 19th 2018 @ 9:36pm | ! Report

              Piru, one of many Kiwis with an anti-Folau agenda. Always telling us if his many failings. How come we never see any anti-any-kiwi-player agendas from non-Kiwis? We all know why.

              • Roar Guru

                June 20th 2018 @ 12:07am
                rebel said | June 20th 2018 @ 12:07am | ! Report

                McCaw. Largest agenda ever.

          • Roar Guru

            June 19th 2018 @ 5:16pm
            Timbo (L) said | June 19th 2018 @ 5:16pm | ! Report

            We keep falling into this trap.

            The 15 on Folau’s back is 1/2 the story, Realistically he only does the attacking half of the Roles of a modern 15. Beale. DHP and Foley do the rest.

            To call him the worlds best 15, is unrealistic, he is one of the best 14.5’s in the game.

            To JohnB. No-one (other than maybe me) is saying that he isn’t a great player, he just isn’t a complete Modern #15. Cheika has special structures that accommodate his strengths and weaknesses.

      • Roar Guru

        June 19th 2018 @ 4:20pm
        Machooka said | June 19th 2018 @ 4:20pm | ! Report

        Is that you Marto?

    • June 19th 2018 @ 3:33pm
      mielie said | June 19th 2018 @ 3:33pm | ! Report

      “Israel Folau being blunted by what they consider Ireland’s illegal blocking tactics.”

      I simply can’t believe it.

      There are 2 linesmen. 1 Ref. 1 TMO.

      Why didn’t they do something about these “illegal blocking tactics”?

      With an attitude like that I am beginning to appreciate the saying ‘I support the All Blacks and any other team that plays against the Wallabies.”

      Could the reason possibly be that the Irish recognize the danger of Folau and are simply not giving him an opportunity?

      • Roar Guru

        June 19th 2018 @ 3:48pm
        Corne Van Vuuren said | June 19th 2018 @ 3:48pm | ! Report

        If the Irish players get into blocking positions early and then remain stationary and don’t change their lines the blocking can be seen as legal.

        Usually a referee will only react to a player”changing” his line

      • Roar Guru

        June 19th 2018 @ 3:49pm
        Fox said | June 19th 2018 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

        Becuase all teams engage in blocking tactics including the Wallabies at kick-offs as do most sides and players have got clever at just moving a leg wider rather than there entire body changing direction – it is part and parcel of the game and only called out if a player clearly changes direction or moves a metre or more across if the same direction

        That is life – that’s rugby these days. Nigel owens probably polices it tougher than most but not by much

        • June 19th 2018 @ 4:46pm
          cuw said | June 19th 2018 @ 4:46pm | ! Report

          it is difficult to completely stop it when there are 15 players on the park – but in 7s this is non existent.

          most teams do this well for deep kick offs with their pods.

          also if the kick off is very high then it gives time for so called blockers to get into position.

          u hardly see blockers when the kicks are shallow or not so high .

          if im not mistaken the Barrett- Fall clash was due to ALB being in the way of fall and nudging him.

          my biggest worry is not blockers but those who tend to give soft nudges to the chasers.

          i think Naholo also got nudges in one match and went clashing into a jumper in a super rugger match

          one of these days a nudge will go horribly wrong and someone will suffer really bad…. 🙁

      • Roar Guru

        June 19th 2018 @ 5:18pm
        Timbo (L) said | June 19th 2018 @ 5:18pm | ! Report

        Because in the current interpretation of the rules, it isn’t illegal.

    • June 20th 2018 @ 6:56pm
      Drongo said | June 20th 2018 @ 6:56pm | ! Report

      Wow, the anti-Wallaby crew are out in force this week. So easy to tell we didn’t win. Last week’s performance shut them up. Now we are the worst team in world rugby. And our best players are actually our worst. So much great advice coming through. Thanks guys. Your really great.

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