And then there was one… Waratahs last Australian team standing

By Adrian Warren,

 , ,

180 Have your say

    NSW Waratahs are the only Australian team in the Super Rugby finals, after the Melbourne Rebels just missed out.

    The Australian conference-winning Tahs will host New Zealand’s Highlanders in a knockout quarter-final next weekend, but the Rebels (ninth) and Brumbies (tenth) both fell just short.

    The Victorian franchise was edged out of a final eight spot on points differential by South Africa’s Sharks, who scored a 20-10 home win over Argentina’s Jaguares in the last match of the regular season on Sunday (AEST).

    Both the Sharks and the Rebels, who lost 43-37 to the Highlanders in Dunedin on Saturday, finished on 36 points.

    Each finished level on wins, the initial tie-breaker, but the Sharks had a -5 points differential to the Rebels -21.

    The Sharks will play away to the defending champions and overall ladder leader and New Zealand conference winners the Crusaders.

    The Brumbies finished two points off eighth spot after a rousing final round 40-31 away win over the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday night.

    The Lions, the losing finalist for the last two seasons, will host the Jaguares after clinching top spot in the South African conference with a 38-12 home win over the Bulls early Sunday (AEST).

    The other quarter-final will be an all New Zealand battle with the Hurricanes hosting the Chiefs.

    The Tahs dropped to third on the overall ladder after losing to the Brumbies on Saturday, with the Lions later replacing them in second spot.

    The match between the Tahs and the sixth-placed Highlanders, who they beat 41-12 in Sydney back in May, is expected to be played next Saturday, with the details to be confirmed later on Sunday.

    The Tahs conceded six tries to the Brumbies, whose own slim playoff hopes ended when the Rebels picked up a bonus-point in Dunedin.

    NSW coach Daryl Gibson said captain Michael Hooper, who has missed their last three games with a hamstring injury, would not recover in time to face the Highlanders and revealed playmaker Kurtley Beale had been ill in the lead-up to Saturday’s game.

    He said his team hadn’t been focused enough in Saturday’s defeat, their first in four games.

    “Plenty to work on, but I think a lot of that work is between our ears,” Gibson said.

    NSW lost a number of lineout throws and Gibson said they didn’t adapt well to the Brumbies strategy in that area.

    © AAP 2018
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    The Crowd Says (180)

    • July 15th 2018 @ 8:17am
      Connor33 said | July 15th 2018 @ 8:17am | ! Report

      Yeah, well, there wouldn’t be ‘one’ had the Rebels be referreed properly in Dunedin.

      There was a chance for AU to have two teams in the finals from its two biggest cities, with the Melbourne achievement trumping that of the Waratahs. Granted the Rebels didn’t want hand outs, just a fair bloody go—yet the Jackson (the bloody joke) failed to provide any sense of fairness with the game representing nothing more than a farsical fairytale. Such is life.

      • Roar Guru

        July 15th 2018 @ 8:33am
        eagleJack said | July 15th 2018 @ 8:33am | ! Report

        Rebels aren’t playing finals because they weren’t good enough over the entire season. To think a referee had anything to do with it is farcical. I doubt Wessels is blaming the officials. He’d know that they had opportunities to seal their place but failed to do so. They lost all 3 games after the Test series break. That is on the players and coaching staff.

        But overall I think they can hold their heads high. Near new squad at the beginning of the year will be better for the run in 2019. Plenty to like for their fans and fans of Oz rugby.

        • July 15th 2018 @ 10:28am
          Connor33 said | July 15th 2018 @ 10:28am | ! Report

          But EJ, the Rebels were in the eight going into the final round. They would have kept that position but for the tragedy that was Jackson’s refereeing.

          • July 15th 2018 @ 10:40am
            Jacko said | July 15th 2018 @ 10:40am | ! Report

            What incidences ?????? All we see is “the ref was crap” yet nothing factual……not even a general statement about what he got sooooooo wrong…just a whinge…name all these bad decisions which led to the loss? I hate this ref but didnt see much wrong and certainly nothing to say it cost the Rebels the game……

            • Roar Rookie

              July 15th 2018 @ 7:03pm
              Kirky said | July 15th 2018 @ 7:03pm | ! Report

              Yep! I haven’t got much time for Jackson as a Ref but he’s a real hard whistle blower for sure and always has been takes no crap!, ~ didn’t see much wrong last game though, frustrating at times is all!

            • July 15th 2018 @ 7:21pm
              ClarkeG said | July 15th 2018 @ 7:21pm | ! Report

              Don’t encourage him Jacko.

              You will be disappointed.

      • July 15th 2018 @ 8:55am
        James Pettifer said | July 15th 2018 @ 8:55am | ! Report

        I think the Rebels only won one game (the Sharks) against a team in the top 8 but lost against the Reds, Stomers and Bulls who finished below them.

        Unfortunately that isn’t exactly the record of a team that deserves to play in the finals.

        • July 15th 2018 @ 11:36am
          Ed said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:36am | ! Report

          The Tahs won one of their six matches against sides in the SR finals. Fortunately for the Tahs it is that team they beat who are their opponents in Sydney next week.

          • Roar Guru

            July 15th 2018 @ 11:41am
            PeterK said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:41am | ! Report

            they did also draw away against the 8th team in the finals

          • Roar Rookie

            July 15th 2018 @ 7:07pm
            Kirky said | July 15th 2018 @ 7:07pm | ! Report

            ED! So right and I bet that opposition team who they play come this weekend, ~will have a very good memory!

      • July 15th 2018 @ 8:56am
        Realist said | July 15th 2018 @ 8:56am | ! Report

        I know where you’re Coming from Connor but the Kiwi sides haven’t been operating under any fairness under the conference system so you can’t argue the Highkanders didn’t deserve their finals spot.
        Yes the referees have been appalling this season but it’s the whole tournament structure which is beyond the joke.
        Super rugby used to be the best teams of the Southern Hemisphere – recreated from local clubs with over 100 years of history. Now it’s the Sunwolves, the Rebels and a bunch of Pacific Islanders who were roped into the system since being poached as 16 year olds from their country under sophisticated school scholarships
        To add insult to injury the NSW power brokers have installed Chieka as coach with absolute immunity to pick as many unworthy Tahs as he wants. This leads to better players going overseas as they know they won’t get a fair go.
        The damage to the code could become irreversible if not rectified before the 2023 RWC

        • July 15th 2018 @ 9:39am
          Guvnr said | July 15th 2018 @ 9:39am | ! Report

          Realist, I’m fed up to the back teeth with this thinly veiled low rent ascertion that NZ is poaching Pacific Islanders with school scholarships and end up as NZ Super Rugby players. Firstly, they go because they can get an education in NZ, something Australia does not offer (why don’t you do something about that here) and secondly, have a look at the number of NZ born Wallabies. Spare me your hypocrisy.

          • July 15th 2018 @ 10:59am
            Realist said | July 15th 2018 @ 10:59am | ! Report

            Actually I was referring to the Sydney and Brisbane GPS school competitions. The Tongan Thor and countless other examples of kids in their mid-teens being recruited (relocating the whole family) to help win a schoolboy premiership and dangle a potential $500k pa professional contract.

            NZ have been doing it for longer but with such a large playing base it’s had little impact on the culture and the importance of honouring both the national and provincial Jerseys (at least from the outside looking in)

            • Roar Rookie

              July 15th 2018 @ 11:42am
              Don said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:42am | ! Report

              And yet the single example you have used; Taniela Tupou wasn’t a schoolboy “poached” and relocating the whole family etc.

              His elder Brother was already living here and playing for The Filth.
              Thor finished school in NZ and was in the SR recruitment market and was recruited to QLD.
              He wanted to be close to his brother and he also said at the time his rugby idol was Quade Cooper.

              He lived with the Coach Richard Graham and his family the first year he was here.

              But yeah, Thor and countless other examples…

              • Roar Guru

                July 15th 2018 @ 11:57am
                Train Without A Station said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:57am | ! Report

                Don did Cripp actually play for Brothers before Tupou came over?

                I was under the impression he actually only started playing again when Tupou moved here because he didn’t need to work as much to help support his brother in school.

              • July 15th 2018 @ 8:38pm
                Snow Bjelke-Petersen said | July 15th 2018 @ 8:38pm | ! Report

                TWAS, Criff Tupou was living and working Tasmania, playing Rugby League for the Launceston Warriors. Spindle and Cordingly facilitated his move to Brisbane/Brothers along with Taniela.

              • Roar Rookie

                July 15th 2018 @ 9:13pm
                Kirky said | July 15th 2018 @ 9:13pm | ! Report

                Don! Interesting much mate, but if Taniela Tupou was serious about his rugby, it would pay to high tail it back to New Zealand as that’s the obvious place to be, especially when you are already qualified per your Parents Heritage!

                The first thing they’d get him to do, is change that stupid “Tongan Thor” title some clown lugged him with and he’d have to lose a lot of weight or build himself up proportionally!

                Haven’t seen him do too much fancy stuff, but if he’s played in NZ in his Schooldays, he’d never forget that tough stuff they as Schoolboys are taught and you can see a bit of that very influence in his play! ~ Fancy having Quade as an Idol tho’!!

              • Roar Guru

                July 15th 2018 @ 11:05pm
                Bakkies said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:05pm | ! Report

                No point in going back as the Wallabies have capped him.

            • July 15th 2018 @ 12:10pm
              Rhys Bosley said | July 15th 2018 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

              I don’t really care about the ethnic makeup of our teams, as far as I am concerned they are all Aussies, but since the dominance of Pacific Islanders in Aussie rugby it seems to bother so many people, I will make a suggestion. The reason that so many PI players are getting picked at schoolboy and rep level are that they are on average better at rugby than other Australians.

              The way for other Australians to get picked more often, is to encourage their kids to take up the challenge of the raised standards that the PI players have bought and become better themselves. There is no point whinging because we are not good enough to make the grade.

              For that to happen I believe that Australian kids need to be starting rugby younger. There is a picture of Jordan Uelese in nappies as a 2 year old holding a rugby ball, where he was playing in an under 6 team in NZ. Starting them as young as 4 or 5 is pretty normal in New Zealand and the PI communities too. I was a late starter at 8 in New Zealand and the skills of the kids who had already played a couple of years were noticeably better by then.

              In contrast the son of a workmate of mine is starting at one of the local GPS schools at 10 years old. With five or six years less development than a NZ or PI kid is getting, is it any surprise that other Aussie kids are behind on skills and not getting picked?

              • July 15th 2018 @ 12:13pm
                Fionn said | July 15th 2018 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

                ‘I don’t really care about the ethnic makeup of our teams, as far as I am concerned they are all Aussies’

                Great comment, Rhys. One of your best!

              • Roar Guru

                July 15th 2018 @ 12:16pm
                Bakkies said | July 15th 2018 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

                We also play far less games than our NZ schools counterparts by the time they graduate from school.

              • Roar Guru

                July 15th 2018 @ 12:25pm
                Train Without A Station said | July 15th 2018 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

                Nah. I think the reason why so many people of Pasifika heritage are is because people of that heritage have immigrated to Australia in greater numbers in the 70s.

                Look at the amount of European surnames you used to see in the NSWRL:

                It’s just a change in demographics. Post WWII it was people if European Origin who formed a huge chunk of our immigration. The last 20-30 years it’s people of Middle Eastern or Pasifika heritage.

              • July 15th 2018 @ 1:37pm
                Akari said | July 15th 2018 @ 1:37pm | ! Report


                I personally don’t care where or how they got here as long as they can and are available to play for their adopted club/country.

              • Roar Pro

                July 15th 2018 @ 3:20pm
                Melburnian said | July 15th 2018 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

                @Rhys Bosley: A couple of years I was watching Box Hill vs Endeavour Hills U14 and one of the Box Hill parents commented about their demographic being mainly “weedy european kids” vs much heavier built PI kids. His point being that by seniors the weight and power differential of the two ethic groupings had largely levelled out but in juniors the PI kids run over the top of their smaller “european” opposition. Nothing other than simple genetics playing out but to my mind the weight for age criteria in junior rugby might go part way to encourage a greater range of kids to take up the sport at an earlier age.

              • July 15th 2018 @ 11:15pm
                Rhys Bosley said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:15pm | ! Report

                The average weight difference in the early teens had been an issue in Australia, but hopefully the new weight based teams got kids will address that. They have had them in NZ for at least 30 years and they work well. I still think we need to start our kids earlier though.

              • July 15th 2018 @ 5:05pm
                ethan said | July 15th 2018 @ 5:05pm | ! Report

                Well said Melburnian. Age group rugby for juniors can at times look like a David vs Goliath battle, but in this case Goliath always wins. Given their genetic make up, the PI boys are often the Goliath. It is hugely important that weight group competitions are introduced at junior level. The skinny white boys won’t get trampled so much, which will do great things for them.

              • July 15th 2018 @ 9:34pm
                Mike said | July 15th 2018 @ 9:34pm | ! Report

                This comment has been removed for breaching The Roar’s comments policy.

              • July 15th 2018 @ 11:12pm
                Rhys Bosley said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:12pm | ! Report

                Disgraceful Mike, every PI person I have met in Australia has been a hard working contributor to our society. Hang your head in shame.

              • July 16th 2018 @ 12:16am
                double agent said | July 16th 2018 @ 12:16am | ! Report

                Rhys I think there is a problem regarding PI juniors in Aust Rugby. They often hit puberty early,become massive as teens and as a result dominate junior footy. Unfortunately they often learn a lot of bad habits. When size evens up in early 20s and it’s not so easy to run over the top of puny white boys suddenly a lack of ball skills and game management becomes an issue.

            • Roar Rookie

              July 15th 2018 @ 8:50pm
              Kirky said | July 15th 2018 @ 8:50pm | ! Report

              Realist! Get it right sunshine! New Zealand have NEVER done it ever! 90% are born in NZ, and a big percentage of the Tongan and Samoan Team are born New Zealanders, but can play for their Ethnic Countries and allowed by the NZRFU! ~ learn something!

          • Roar Guru

            July 15th 2018 @ 12:01pm
            taylorman said | July 15th 2018 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

            Can you name a SR player that got one of these scholarships Guvna? Realist? dont know of them.
            What is the scholarship called so I can look it up.

            • Roar Guru

              July 15th 2018 @ 12:25pm
              Train Without A Station said | July 15th 2018 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

              Malakai Fekitoa?

              • Roar Guru

                July 15th 2018 @ 2:04pm
                taylorman said | July 15th 2018 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

                Scholarship name was?

              • July 15th 2018 @ 7:05pm
                Jacko said | July 15th 2018 @ 7:05pm | ! Report

                The Willy O Schollarship…lol

            • July 15th 2018 @ 2:09pm
              freddieeffer said | July 15th 2018 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

              Tman, they’re not overt ‘rugby scholarships’ per se, so by and large, you won’t find evidence of blatant rugby scholarships in private schools. Even if you enquired, they’d probably deny it outright, followed by some warm n fuzzy spin outlining the following charitable and benevolent scholarships available to students (who happen to be be potentially outstanding rugby players in the future.)

              There is an array of other scholarships potentially ranging from Academic to Artistic to Sporting to Socio/cultural to (Name of Benefactor) scholarships x 10 and so on. Each private school will have their own combination of these types of scholarships.

              With the exception of academic scholarships, most other scholarships have a fair amount of lattitude hidden within the fine print, so any potential applicant can be awarded the scholarship ‘on merit’. (so it can be proven that the process was legitimate and above ‘reproach’.)

              So this effectively means the Headmaster can use his/her discretion to award a scholarship that serves the particular need of the school, which usually translates as winning a trophy (or all the trophies if possible), or at the very least, gain more competitive advantage for greater short to medium term success. E.g. a 100kg 15 year old Pacific Islander who plays LH/TH prop.

              The above is extremely well planned and co-ordinated, and it targets any player/nationality for whatever position in the first/second/third XV that needs additional depth and development. This is all very professionally done, just like the pros in professional sport.

              There are numerous other tricks in the trade to achieve the above.

              Ricky Stuart (dual international) played in his schools’ first XV for 4 years and if my memory is right, 5. How? apart from the fact he was brilliant and played firsts from Year 10, he also ‘repeated’ Year 12 a few times as well. Ahemm… maybe he’s not that ‘academic’??? Nevertheless, it massively strengthened the schools success on the footie field, and cemented his place in the Australian Schoolboys side for a few years in succession. It strengthened his footie CV to being absolute ‘top shelf’, and he walked straight into his pro football career earning the big bucks.

              Sport, like life at times, ain’t what it seems. Ethical? What ethics? Rules? Yeh right – we (private schools) are all upstanding organisations full of integrity…. cough, cough.

              BTW, no-one can throw stones here, because they’re all in this up to their ears.

              • Roar Rookie

                July 15th 2018 @ 9:26pm
                Kirky said | July 15th 2018 @ 9:26pm | ! Report

                Jacko! You mention Willie O’, he got the pricker with New Zealand Rugby because they wouldn’t pick him as an All Black after participating in a few Trials, ~
                their reason being he wasn’t good enough, so over here he came!

              • Roar Rookie

                July 16th 2018 @ 12:55am
                Shane D said | July 16th 2018 @ 12:55am | ! Report

                Kirky, Willie O played & toured for the NZ schoolboys in 1988. He was refused entry back into NZ because he was on a Tongan passport & didn’t have a visa for NZ.
                That’s why he ended up in Australia. Nothing to do with getting the ‘pricker with NZR’ & he certainly never participated in any AB trials.

          • Roar Rookie

            July 15th 2018 @ 8:09pm
            Kirky said | July 15th 2018 @ 8:09pm | ! Report

            Guvnr’, Every Australian Franchise has Kiwis in them some more than others, Reds probably the most! ~ A lot also have Kiwi parents but were born here, ~ I think any of those who show a bit of talent would be better to go to their Parents Home Patch and hook up somewhere where the good rugby’s at,! ~ they wouldn’t even need a permit, Visa, Passport, or whatever else to do their thing there! ~ My Christchurch spy informed me that young Ala Alatoa at the Crusaders has got the All Black Selectors looking long and hard at him as he’s really fitted in and is playing well there and loves the environment at the Crusaders! ~ Still can’t understand why Samu left there.

            • July 16th 2018 @ 12:23am
              double agent said | July 16th 2018 @ 12:23am | ! Report

              Is there a NZ Roar?? Maybe you should stick to that Kirky.

              • July 16th 2018 @ 12:32am
                riddler said | July 16th 2018 @ 12:32am | ! Report

                i don’t mind kirk.. loved the player.. first webb ellis winning captain..

                we have a couple of swarmy saffas, kiwis and argies here.. no idea why they need to get their kicks here, but each to their own..

                we have some quality kiwis here which i enjoy reading their perspectives..

                rt, digger, highlander even tman has grown on me.. apologies for those that i have missed..

      • July 15th 2018 @ 9:38am
        Lol said | July 15th 2018 @ 9:38am | ! Report

        The rebels season was a failure.
        They were handed two teams and finals system was extended to eight teams and they still couldn’t make it.
        Win 4 from 4 then 3 from 12.

      • July 15th 2018 @ 9:44am
        Jacko said | July 15th 2018 @ 9:44am | ! Report

        Sad …The Ref favored the Rebels way too much in that game….Highlanders overcome the ref to win anyway

      • July 15th 2018 @ 9:45am
        Bluffboy said | July 15th 2018 @ 9:45am | ! Report

        Why Why Why
        Why does there have to be a conspiracy every time an Australian side doesn’t get the result. Even before the game with the Fox “expert panel” Tanking was mentioned. The fact is the Rebels just weren’t good enough. They put themselves in a position that should never have been in since the break. Connor, they just are not good enough.
        Saying that, I can see next season to be the most closely contested ever with Rebels starting to find their feet and the Reds and Brumbies finding believe.
        The only joke IMO is commentary spouting conspiracy.

        • July 15th 2018 @ 10:34am
          Connor33 said | July 15th 2018 @ 10:34am | ! Report

          BB – some questions:

          1. Did you watch the game?
          2. Did you at least watch the second half?
          3. Do you recall the first 5 minutes or so of the second half?
          4. Do you recall Koribete jumping in the air?
          5. Do you recall how he landed?
          6. Do you recall what caused that?

          Answer any of those questions in the affirmative then we can continue the conversation…

          • July 15th 2018 @ 10:45am
            Jacko said | July 15th 2018 @ 10:45am | ! Report

            5 …yes

            I still arnt seeing what ref decision cost the Rebels the game…But I am still seeing a big whinge…massive sook actually

          • July 15th 2018 @ 11:16am
            Bluffboy said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:16am | ! Report

            And yes.
            Replaying that incident myself a couple of times Koroibete when up in a position where as he had no chance of getting near the ball. It would seem that the way all refs are ruling he would have had to at least touched it to warrant a decision. More clumsy onhispart than anything else. Regardless there are 3 other officials that could have called it. If that is the reason you think the Rebels should be in the finales I’ll end the conversation here.
            If losing your dummy makes you cry don’t spit it out.

            • July 16th 2018 @ 2:54am
              Connor33 said | July 16th 2018 @ 2:54am | ! Report

              Cute. Good try. Yet proves my broader point.

              We now live in a world of player safety, correct? Any benefit of the doubt goes in favor of the player in a perilous position, right? If you’re of the view that it’s no, then don’t bother reading on.

              In any event, look at what has happened in NZ in the past few months regarding referees refereeing NZ teams:

              – A French player pulls out of the contest and gets a red when Barrett goes for the ball.

              – (On your view) a NZ player deserves nothing—not even a penalty—when Koribete goes for the ball and lands on his back caused by a NZ player.

              The fact that you had to review several times to come to the conclusion that Koribete was purportedly “clumsy” means that you really have not viewed the Koribete incident through the new ‘player safety’ lens we now live in. Nor have you considered where the benefit of doubt now leans. The fact that you’re looking at the Aussie player who was in the better position to catch the ball tends to suggest that your starting point was all wrong. Go watch the incident one more time, take off you NZ hat, look at Koribete, look at where each player was in proportion of the ball, look at the clumsiness of the NZ player, look at the height that Koribete falls from and consider what caused that.

              I’ve only seen the game once and in real time. And every game I’ve seen this year, Koribete’s fall is at minimum a penalty or likely yellow card.

              But, I guess, if your a referee in NZ what upshot do you have blowing against the local team but hyper criticicim from a community that’s happy to kill any referee’s credibility that calls against a NZ team.

        • Roar Pro

          July 15th 2018 @ 3:25pm
          Melburnian said | July 15th 2018 @ 3:25pm | ! Report

          Fair comment Bluffboy. I’m happy that the Rebels have been so much improved on last season, but it always would be a work in progress. Melding two squads into one successful team doesn’t happen overnight. The news that Matt Toomua is joining the Rebels at least for part of the season is great news given the lack of a competent #10. Next season should see better cohesion, better results and as a result, more fans.

      • July 15th 2018 @ 9:48am
        Joseph said | July 15th 2018 @ 9:48am | ! Report

        Let’s blame the ref, shall we?
        Have you had breakfast, Conner33?

        • July 15th 2018 @ 10:39am
          Connor33 said | July 15th 2018 @ 10:39am | ! Report

          Actually, having a beer next to a pool in the middle of heat wave. You?

          • July 15th 2018 @ 11:20am
            Harry said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:20am | ! Report

            In which case you might want to reflect into your beer how the Rebels were ahead by 12 with 20 minutes remaining and yet still lost. The answer is not the ref. Its poor play and game management from the Rebels.

          • July 15th 2018 @ 1:03pm
            Vesi Tagoiagea said | July 15th 2018 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

            Connor 33 maybe you have one too many😛😛😛😛😛😛😛

          • July 15th 2018 @ 7:41pm
            ClarkeG said | July 15th 2018 @ 7:41pm | ! Report

            probably the same brand that Jackson drinks 🙂

            • Roar Guru

              July 15th 2018 @ 7:45pm
              Bakkies said | July 15th 2018 @ 7:45pm | ! Report

              Dutch Gold?

              • July 15th 2018 @ 8:21pm
                ClarkeG said | July 15th 2018 @ 8:21pm | ! Report

                we can be sure he was not under the influence of a “heat wave”

      • July 15th 2018 @ 11:01am
        Bakkies said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:01am | ! Report

        The Rebels have more than enough handouts.

      • July 15th 2018 @ 2:21pm
        freddieeffer said | July 15th 2018 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

        Connor, we’ve got to stop looking at one-off incidences of reffing blunders as one-dimensional cause-effect.

        I made the comment on another thread about the 3rd test match with the Wallabies and Ireland and the 80th minute reffing conjecture about Foley’s pass while on attack and the Wallabies appearing likely to score and win on the last play. That teat series was lost by the Wallabies in the second test through ill-discipline gifting Sexton 12 point which he duly took. The Wallabies deserved to lose the series for being so stupid.

        The same with the Rebels, they didn’t play smart enough footie in the middle part of the season, and lost a few games that they really should have won. End of story. In the end, they don’t deserve to be there. I hope they learn the lessons of this year, and not make the same dumb mistakes in 2019.

      • July 15th 2018 @ 2:28pm
        timber said | July 15th 2018 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

        Stop being a crybaby Connor33.
        The Rebels only managed 7 wins from 16 games, they couldn’t even win half their games in the easiest conference and yet you’re whining about it.
        Spare a thought for the NZ teams who were forced to cannibalize each other (the Blues would have been competitive in the Aussie conference) and the Jaguares who had an enormous time zone travel schedule.

      • July 15th 2018 @ 8:25pm
        Colvin said | July 15th 2018 @ 8:25pm | ! Report

        Since we’re playing the Tahs in Sydney, we better bring our own referee with us this time.

    • July 15th 2018 @ 8:47am
      Cynical Play said | July 15th 2018 @ 8:47am | ! Report

      Gutted for the Rebels who showed how good they can play in that close loss. Their lack of a playmaking 10 really showing, though Hodge had a blinder and shows how useful he is when positioned in the inside backs close to the action.
      Tahs wellbeaten and I see it as a positive that the Oz franchises are all playing good footy. Hooper sorely missed last night I thought. The Arnolds adding a lot to the Brums set piece.

      • July 15th 2018 @ 9:26am
        Fionn said | July 15th 2018 @ 9:26am | ! Report

        The Rebels will be better next year.

      • July 15th 2018 @ 11:17am
        Rhys Bosley said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:17am | ! Report


        I’m not trying to pick an argument here but I have to say that I am genuinely and continually perplexed as to how Australians can have a team score four tries but get pipped at the post against quality opposition, then put down the loss to “lack of a playmaking ten”. The Rebels scored 57 tries this season, more than the Jaguares and Sharks who are in the finals did. So there is nothing wrong with their attack, it is the 60 tries that they let in that is the problem. We seem to have an overarching fixation on that one position, expecting every player who fills it to produce “running rugby” like Stephen Larkham or Mark Ella, when on the evidence players like Hodge can do a good job with their own set of attributes.

        • July 15th 2018 @ 11:22am
          Fionn said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:22am | ! Report

          I think it was the lack of a game managing 10 more than anything. They weren’t able to consistently play in the right parts of the field. That is the sort of thing that Sexton and Farrell do so well for their teams. They take the pressure off defensively and calm their teams.

          • Roar Guru

            July 15th 2018 @ 11:46am
            Machpants said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:46am | ! Report

            Nz teams don’t really have game managing tens either, since Dan the man, if you believe most posters!

            • Roar Guru

              July 15th 2018 @ 11:54am
              PeterK said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:54am | ! Report

              Mo’unga and Sopoaga are certainly considered game managers.

            • July 15th 2018 @ 11:57am
              Fionn said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:57am | ! Report

              I would have said that Cruden, Mo’unga and Sopoaga were all good game managers.

              • Roar Guru

                July 15th 2018 @ 11:58am
                PeterK said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:58am | ! Report

                Cruden is gone though

              • July 15th 2018 @ 12:07pm
                Fionn said | July 15th 2018 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

                Yeah, which is why I think they should get Hayden Parker back from the Sunwolves. Easily the best performing flyhalf in the Australian conference 😛

          • July 15th 2018 @ 11:49am
            Rhys Bosley said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:49am | ! Report

            Fionn, the Rebels had 54% of possession and 50% of territory, and two of the Highlanders tries came from the other end of the park. That hardly suggests a problem with the the Rebels fly half finding field position.

            • July 15th 2018 @ 11:57am
              Fionn said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:57am | ! Report

              Oh, I’m not talking about last night’s match per se (I missed it), but overall during the season. Too often they crucially lacked game management when it counted.

        • July 15th 2018 @ 11:32am
          Jacko said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:32am | ! Report

          Rhys I agree 100% with that but I still would have liked to see Maddocks given a run at 10 for a few games in a row…..I see something in Maddocks that could well end up being a Larkham or an Ella but if he never gets a shot how will Aus rugby ever know…They keep him at wing or fullback…….A position well covered in Aus rugby

          • July 15th 2018 @ 11:53am
            Rhys Bosley said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:53am | ! Report

            I wouldn’t mind Maddocks getting a go at 10 to Jacko and I suspect it will happen in due course, probably when somebody gets injured. However I also think Hodge is doing a good job and is progressing well, so should stay there for the Rebels and as backup for the Wallabies. Chopping and changing often just means nobody gets the time to be any good.

            • July 15th 2018 @ 11:58am
              Fionn said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:58am | ! Report

              I don’t really see Hodge developing as a 10. He shovels it a lot and doesn’t actually play first receiver a heap to me. He still looks like a centre being played out of position at 10, and I think there is a serious change of it hampering his longterm development as a player.

              • Roar Guru

                July 15th 2018 @ 1:50pm
                jeznez said | July 15th 2018 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

                Was great to see Hegarty finally get a solid hit out at 10 last night, thought the shape of the backline improved when he started running it – and that was with Foley at 12!

              • July 15th 2018 @ 4:19pm
                Fionn said | July 15th 2018 @ 4:19pm | ! Report

                I did wonder (not for the first time) what the point of Foley was given how he is now often playing second receiver for the Waratahs as well as the Wallabies, and behind Hegarty.

                Is it an indication that Gibson is looking to move Hegarty into 10?

              • July 15th 2018 @ 5:08pm
                ethan said | July 15th 2018 @ 5:08pm | ! Report

                Rebels will have Toomua at flyhalf next year. That will help greatly.

              • July 15th 2018 @ 5:17pm
                Fionn said | July 15th 2018 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

                It sounds like the Rebels won’t have Toomua until the end of the season, mate. So Maddocks will hopefully play there (I pray not Hodge).

              • July 15th 2018 @ 11:45pm
                Rhys Bosley said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:45pm | ! Report

                It will be great to have Toomua back in Oz, but I am devastated that he is going to the Rebels. He is the one player that I really, really hoped the Reds would have been able to bag. Damn.

              • July 16th 2018 @ 9:01am
                Fionn said | July 16th 2018 @ 9:01am | ! Report

                How do you think we feel in Canberra, Rhys? 😛

              • July 16th 2018 @ 11:18am
                Markus said | July 16th 2018 @ 11:18am | ! Report

                Yeah gutted that Toomua won’t be coming back to Canberra.

                With Godwin heading overseas and utility Andrew Smith retiring, Brumbies are in real trouble in the inside backs next year if Lealiifano doesn’t end up re-signing.

        • Roar Guru

          July 15th 2018 @ 11:58am
          PeterK said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:58am | ! Report

          a quality 10 needs either to excel in at least 1 style of flyhalf or be competent in all 3.

          The 3 are a territory and tactical kicking one or a creative passing playmaker or a running 10.

          Hodge is not competent in all 3 nor does he excel in any of those.

          • July 15th 2018 @ 12:14pm
            Rhys Bosley said | July 15th 2018 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

            He seemed to do a fair bit of running last night when he scored three tries and six throughout the season. That is on top of a season where he has the seventh highest run meters from the second highest number of runs for a fly half in the comp, from 34 other players. I reckon that is a pretty good basis upon which to build.

            • July 15th 2018 @ 12:17pm
              Fionn said | July 15th 2018 @ 12:17pm | ! Report

              I think he runs more like a centre or an outside back as opposed to a flyhalf though. I don’t think his pace of the mark is very good, although his top end speed is really quite fast. He just isn’t an elusive runner like a Larkham or a Beale or a Foley or a Cooper (prior to knee injury) although I think he is faster than them over 20m and above.

              • July 15th 2018 @ 7:14pm
                jacko said | July 15th 2018 @ 7:14pm | ! Report

                i think he is a natural 12 Fionn

              • July 15th 2018 @ 9:01pm
                Rhys Bosley said | July 15th 2018 @ 9:01pm | ! Report

                I don’t agree about Hodges acceleration Fionn, I have seen him get up to speed very quickly from first receiver and score tries, irrespective of what position he is playing. He is a very damaging runner with an excellent ability to find space and also runs hard in support, all characteristics that can be used at ten.

                I also think his big boot could be utilised better with the right coaching and we have seen the potential his height gives in terms of being close to the kickers and charging them down. Finally being such a big lad means he won’t get intimidated by opposition forwards ad can contribute to the breakdown if necessary.

                All that said, I do think Hodge may have had a mild case of the second season yips this year. The 67% tackle efficiency was uncharateristically low for him and suggests to me that he was slightly off his best, which could create the perception that he can’t play the position well.

            • Roar Guru

              July 15th 2018 @ 12:20pm
              PeterK said | July 15th 2018 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

              2 from charge downs , he did not play a running game as a 10, taking on the defence looking for gaps from 1st receiver.

              No doubt he is a good runner of the ball out wider, that doesn’t mean he is a running type 10.

              You are just being persnickety on purpose and avoiding the substance of the discussion.

              • Roar Rookie

                July 15th 2018 @ 1:02pm
                Die hard said | July 15th 2018 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

                I just wanted to say i love it when someone can use persnickety in a sentence 😊

              • July 15th 2018 @ 8:46pm
                Rhys Bosley said | July 15th 2018 @ 8:46pm | ! Report

                “You are just being persnickety on purpose and avoiding the substance of the discussion.”

                Nope, I just don’t happen to agree with you and don’t see the point in carrying on about it. If you are going to get antagonistic about that, we don’t need to converse.

            • Roar Rookie

              July 15th 2018 @ 8:41pm
              Kirky said | July 15th 2018 @ 8:41pm | ! Report

              Rhys! Hodge did OK actually, kicked well, got into a few rucks, and a couple of mauls, scored two tries he shouldn’t have, ~ They could do worse than keeping him at 1st 5/8 for next Season!

              He’s big enough to play loose forward in any of the 3 possies, as he’s pretty quick also!

              • July 15th 2018 @ 9:06pm
                Rhys Bosley said | July 15th 2018 @ 9:06pm | ! Report

                I agree Kirky, leave him there and let him grow. He gets moved around too much, it must be hard for him to reach his full potential good at anything.

              • July 15th 2018 @ 10:38pm
                Dontcallmeshirley said | July 15th 2018 @ 10:38pm | ! Report

                But he can’t pass to save himself!

              • July 15th 2018 @ 11:20pm
                Rhys Bosley said | July 15th 2018 @ 11:20pm | ! Report

                He was passing pretty well during the Reds game. I have heard that criticism and made a specific effort to watch him and I couldn’t see the alleged problem.

              • Roar Rookie

                July 16th 2018 @ 12:30pm
                Shane D said | July 16th 2018 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

                He has a strong pass to the left but his ability to go wide right is poor

        • July 15th 2018 @ 12:21pm
          Cynical Play said | July 15th 2018 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

          The positional play and ability to unlock the outside runners as well as knowing when and how to kick in the 10 position I don’t see in Hodge. Jack D has more of this but he hadn’t improved in line with his early potential. You misrepresent me RB. I’m not saying they lose because of Hodge alone but he has shown he has limited options. Sure he can play at 10 but he does not have the true 10 skillset such as those NZ 10s mentioned above/below or Foley at his best or even Hamish St. They need a proper 10 not a mr fix it 10

          • July 15th 2018 @ 2:28pm
            freddieeffer said | July 15th 2018 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

            Yep, you nailed it CP.

            Personally, I’m not 100% sure where Hodge belongs in the backline. All I know is that he needs to be in there somewhere, most likely 13, or wing.

          • Roar Pro

            July 15th 2018 @ 3:30pm
            Melburnian said | July 15th 2018 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

            CO: I agree with you regarding Hodge, he’s not a natural #10, Jack D is out of his depth in SR and needs to be released TBH.

          • July 15th 2018 @ 9:04pm
            Rhys Bosley said | July 15th 2018 @ 9:04pm | ! Report

            “You misrepresent me RB. I’m not saying they lose because of Hodge alone but he has shown he has limited options”

            Fair enough if that is what you intended to say, but I disagree on him being limited. His size and boot bring qualities at ten that none of the others have and he is a hard worker, so I think we will see steady growth in him.

      • Roar Guru

        July 15th 2018 @ 12:57pm
        Machooka said | July 15th 2018 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

        Yep Cynical… pretty much agree with the sentiment contained within your comment.

        Although, I will say, I’m bitterly disappointed with da Tahs’ effort last night… geez, you’d have thought they would’ve approached this game like it was a Final, such was the gain in them getting a win here.

        Anyhow, well done Brums fore a most deserved ‘W’… b@$T@rd$! 😉

      • July 16th 2018 @ 12:26am
        double agent said | July 16th 2018 @ 12:26am | ! Report

        Hodge is definitely improving at 10. And goal kicking.

    • July 15th 2018 @ 8:58am
      JP Bogers said | July 15th 2018 @ 8:58am | ! Report

      Go the Tahs… Just hope Cheika doesn’t get blinded come selection time for Wallabies…

      • Roar Guru

        July 15th 2018 @ 2:08pm
        Cadfael said | July 15th 2018 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

        Agree. We need to go back to the future and bring back a selection panel and not leave it with the coach.

    • July 15th 2018 @ 9:19am
      Daveski said | July 15th 2018 @ 9:19am | ! Report

      Tahs at least switched back on for most of the last 60 minutes. Impressed the kept coming back whenever score was in danger of blowing out. Some work for them at scrum and lineout and defensively.

      I’m not too concerned the backline didn’t threaten as much as recently. They made plenty of metres out wide, just couldn’t find those last passes plus Brumbies covering defence very good. Folau was well contained.

    • July 15th 2018 @ 9:22am
      Tooly said | July 15th 2018 @ 9:22am | ! Report

      A true reflection of our ability .
      Our sides are playing touch football they all want to be Hoopers ; no positional knowledge , no ball security , bouncing out of tackle and running around like headless chooks hoping for intercepts .

    • July 15th 2018 @ 9:43am
      Lol said | July 15th 2018 @ 9:43am | ! Report

      Rebels have failed.
      Handed two teams to play with and couldn’t a finals system that was extended to eight teams.
      Win four from four and talking themselves up, wessels talking about ‘special’ season and all his suckhole comments towards the ARU then win only 3 from 12.
      Haha good job.

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