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The Roar

Geoff Parkes

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Joined October 2012

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Geoff is a Melbourne based sports fanatic and writer, who started contributing to The Roar in 2012, originally under the pen name Allanthus. His first book, A World in Conflict; the Global Battle For Rugby Supremacy was released in Dec 2017 to critical acclaim. For details on the book visit www.geoffparkes.com Meanwhile, his twin goals of achieving a single figure golf handicap and owning a fast racehorse remain tantalisingly out of reach.

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It might well be FB.
But it’s also about the head coach parking his ego and surrounding himself with the best possible assistants, and creating an effective working unit.

The Wrap: It's 'About Schmidt' as Ireland plan and execute perfectly

Big fan of Payne’s work Hugo. ‘Sideways’ was fun, ‘Nebraska’ deserved wider viewing and ‘Election’ is one my my all-time favourite films.

The Wrap: It's 'About Schmidt' as Ireland plan and execute perfectly

“We have issues playing against that suffocating style of play Eng Ire and recently the Boks bring.”

I have a wee theory about this one Ben. I think NZ has always struggled against this type of defensive press, but for the most part have overcome it because of 1) superior conditioning and 2) skill errors from the opposition eventually provide counter attack or field position opportunities.

Today, the conditioning advantage is no longer there, and the skills deficit has also (for the most part) disappeared – certainly in the case of Ireland, and almost, in the case of England and SA.

One of NZ rugby’s great strengths is its ability to innovate and stay ahead of the chasing pack. This will get a severe test now.

The Wrap: It's 'About Schmidt' as Ireland plan and execute perfectly

Hi B/fan

Not sure about Vito, but yes Read is not the player he once was.

I think tiredness has been a much bigger factor in recent end of year tours, but not this time. The AB’s managed this year very well, and – apart from Whitelock and perhaps Taylor – almost all of the team would have had plenty left in the tank.

As for Barrett, I thought he was fine. I’d hate to see NZ follow the Australian path of blaming the 10 for not being able to take control of the game when his forwards are getting spanked.

The Wrap: It's 'About Schmidt' as Ireland plan and execute perfectly

“International Rugby is alive and well.”

Indeed it is Hoorse.

We’ll get plenty of opportunity to assess Twiggy’s Global Rapid Rugby down the track, but with numerous law changes, including reducing matches to 70 minutes, does it seem to others that they are too focused on trying to fix problems that don’t actually exist?

The Wrap: It's 'About Schmidt' as Ireland plan and execute perfectly

Good comment about depth Fionn. It’s a definite strength for NZ over a 6-week long tournament, and also an area of strength for Ireland. It’s no accident that these are the 1 and 2 ranked sides.

SA would be next on depth, and improving. Once we get to the elimination games this may well prove to be a critical factor.

The Wrap: It's 'About Schmidt' as Ireland plan and execute perfectly

“given NZ’s historical ability to crack at World Cups”

🙂 You’re a hard marker Connor. They’ve won 3/8 including the last two.
How many in a row do they need to win before that theory gets put to bed?

The Wrap: It's 'About Schmidt' as Ireland plan and execute perfectly

Morning RT. Re what you say about the World Cup chances, I think anyone who thinks they can predict what will happen is kidding themselves.

The margins are fine and once the quarter finals start it’s all down to what happens on the day.

The Wrap: It's 'About Schmidt' as Ireland plan and execute perfectly

Cheers Nick – look forward to that.

Certainly Toner/Ryan v Retallick/Whitelock was a decent spanking on the night. Throw in the first half scrum dominance and the AB’s clearly have some serious thinking to do.

The Wrap: It's 'About Schmidt' as Ireland plan and execute perfectly

Glad you enjoyed the Edinburgh experience Harry – pulled pork and all!

The Wrap: It's 'About Schmidt' as Ireland plan and execute perfectly

“playing a very simple, well organised game plan that is almost error free as well – very very impressive.”

The contrast with the Wallabies is stark isn’t it? Give players a plan that they can easily understand, that is easily repeatable, that is appropriate for their skill sets, that respects and takes into account the opposition and is able to be consistently executed.

The Wrap: It's 'About Schmidt' as Ireland plan and execute perfectly

Hi Graeme

Yes it was a huge performance from the Irish 2nd row wasn’t it?
Retallick has very high standards, I’m sure it won’t sit well with him over summer, having had his colours lowered.

The Wrap: It's 'About Schmidt' as Ireland plan and execute perfectly

Some interesting points there Connor.

What you say highlights the point that margins between the top sides are narrower than what many believe.

NZ may well lose to both SA and Ireland at the World Cup, but I wouldn’t be using my own money to bet on that outcome at this stage.

We’ve had six months of hearing that a bad pass from Foley cost Australia the series against Ireland. It was a poor pass but my view is that Ireland had sufficient cover in the corner regardless. No way was that a ‘certain try’ blown.

The Wrap: It's 'About Schmidt' as Ireland plan and execute perfectly

Hi Chinmay

Thanks for those corrections. I must stop writing these pieces on no sleep…

Not so sure about James Lowe re the AB’s. He was obviously a talented SR performer and was a big loss for NZ rugby at the time, but I don’t think he was ever a realistic chance of a Test jumper on merit.

I see your point but I don’t think that handing out cheap caps just for that purpose does any good for either the AB’s or the player.

The Wrap: It's 'About Schmidt' as Ireland plan and execute perfectly

Cheers Chris.

The Wrap: Cheika and Jones both losers, but heading down very different paths

No apology required mate – we all have to pay the bills!

Good point about England. While they are right to feel happy about running the champs to a single point in a match that could have gone their way, (and Eddie has made sure that this is THE story to come out of the match, the fact is that they didn’t score a point in the 2nd half, and lost on all statistical measures.

The Wrap: Cheika and Jones both losers, but heading down very different paths

Cheers NV. When you get to my age a day or two late is neither here nor there! 🙂

Yes I agree that Barrett had a good match, suitable for the conditions, it was noticeable that he held the ball into contact on a few occasions rather than shift it into trouble behind the advantage line, and he was definitely playing more of a traditional 10 role – again, suitable for the conditions.

You’re right about the defence in Cardiff. Australia was good, but Wales won the game off of theirs – the total breakdown of the Wallabies attack was part tactical ineptness, but also a big part the defensive organisation and execution grinding them into submission.

The Wrap: Cheika and Jones both losers, but heading down very different paths

“IMO the quality of the English performance is being slightly overestimated”

That really speaks to my opening point about how Eddie is the master manipulator, doesn’t it? If this match had been 12 months ago, to settle to notional ‘best team in the world’ argument, Eddie would have been a loser, coming up short.

But given the context of England’s 2018 results he was straight onto the front foot to paint this close loss as his second coming.

The Wrap: Cheika and Jones both losers, but heading down very different paths

That’s a fair point about the AB’s back row FB.
Read/Savea/Squire is a quality trio, but nevertheless it’s not the same as Read/McCaw/Kaino.

NZ won last time in Dublin by adopting a ‘no prisoners’ physical approach. How they approach things this time will be fascinating – but they’ll certainly have to start a lot better. You just know that Ireland will be tearing into it from the first whistle.

The Wrap: Cheika and Jones both losers, but heading down very different paths

“They weren’t as good as their 18 straight wins implied, but they certainly weren’t as bad as last season implies.”

Spot on FB.

The Wrap: Cheika and Jones both losers, but heading down very different paths

I think your summary shows just how hard it is to win a World Cup, Sheek. A lot of stars need to align at the same time, and of course luck and fortune plays a part as well.

If there is a coaching change after this tour then I’m not totally dismissive of Australia’s chances. But in the current set up, you’d have to think they’re no chance at all.

The Wrap: Cheika and Jones both losers, but heading down very different paths

Absolutely Andrew. Which really only makes it all the more frustrating that Australia is missing the bus.

What was telling, was when Brett Gosper visited a few weeks back, and held a presser at Concord, and a number of the questions asked by journos were based around, ‘what is World Rugby going to do to fix Australia, and when are they going to do it?’

That’s a gross misunderstanding of World Rugby’s function. Australia should be big enough and mature enough to fix its own problems.

The Wrap: Cheika and Jones both losers, but heading down very different paths

Just to clarify Cliff,

– there no question the game is NOT in good health in Australia
– but globally, it is in good health

Which really only adds to the frustration…

The Wrap: Cheika and Jones both losers, but heading down very different paths

Well in that case I hope they’re paying you well for it!

The Wrap: Cheika and Jones both losers, but heading down very different paths

Very good Nicolai!
On that basis, the Wallabies have the cup in the bag already. 🙂

The Wrap: Cheika and Jones both losers, but heading down very different paths