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Brett McKay

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Joined September 2008

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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, is the voice of ACT club rugby, has commentated on Under-20s Championships, Women's Uni Sevens and National Rugby Championship coverage, and has written for magazines and websites in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK. He tweets from @BMcSport.

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I’m with you on the Blues, Hairy Man, but that’s where our primary colour allegiance ends…

Super Rugby Week 10: four becomes two?

More cases in Auckland this morning only narrows the chances of Sunday’s game being played, I’d imagine RT. Which is a shame, but obviously the right call..

Super Rugby Week 10: four becomes two?

Can you imagine the Lions playing Warringah, wre?

And a national club competition won’t reach Currie Cup or NPC standards either. Won’t even go close..

Optus reportedly eyeing off Rugby AU's new broadcast offering

Can and do, Ed..

Optus reportedly eyeing off Rugby AU's new broadcast offering

That Grassroots to Wallabies concept might get up yet! 😂

Optus reportedly eyeing off Rugby AU's new broadcast offering

Except that that’s not how 2020 has played out.

Up to the suspension of Super Rugby, the home/away split was 26/20.

In nine rounds of Aotearoa, it’s 10/8.

In AU, it’s 7/4 (1 draw), and only one of those four – the Rebels beating the Force at Leichhardt – doesn’t fit the ‘true’ meaning of an away win, in that both the Force and Rebels are on tour.

But you’ve been banging on about this for six rounds, so I can’t imagine this will stop you. I don’t really see what you’re trying to achieve, if I’m honest..

Perfect timing: The round that has Super Rugby AU at sixes and sevens

Well Tim Sampson’s an obvious one. Jason Gilmore was in the Qld age ranks, but went on to National U20s duties after his NRC stint with Qld Country. Thorn was still playing when he got his first taste of coaching during the NRC. John Manenti gets into the Sevens scene after coaching Western Sydney. Dwayne Nestor is now the Wallaroos coach after coaching Perth. Darren Coleman was by far the best NSW coach to cmoe through the NRC and was chronically and repeatedly overlooked, and will now coach an MLR team in the States. Chris Harris ends up in Fiji after coaching Canberra. Rob Taylor won a Premiership with Sydney Uni last year, missed the finals with NSW Country by a point is now with Leicester. There would be others.

You’re trying to frame this very selectively (particularly players) with your caveat “they were not in focus”, but this was the whole point of the NRC, to test guys that were being looked at, or who had done a pre-season or two, or were on token training contracts, and that’s ridiculous unfair because the absolute vast majority of the current playing ranks would have played in the NRC at some point over the last six seasons.

So what you’re trying to throw up is a complete red herring. And I would argue that the main reason so many of last year’s Junior Wallabies have been able to make the step into Super Rugby so well is because of their grounding in the NRC. They might all have still worked their way through without the NRC, but how many would’ve done it the next year? Not nearly as many, is my guess.

The point being the NRC was a major point in the pathway. All these guys – and it’s upwards of a hundred now, over six seasons – that have taken the step were ‘in focus’ in some shape or form, but the NRC confirmed that they were ready to take that next step.

But you’ll still want names… So here’s a couple: Will Miller. Tom Cusack. Folau Fainga’a. Brandon Paenga-Amosa. Matt Philip. Isi Naisarani. And there’d be more again. Any guys who essentially went interstate to take up a pro deal would fit your narrow criteria, basically..

Optus reportedly eyeing off Rugby AU's new broadcast offering

Scotty, I’m in exactly the same boat!

Optus reportedly eyeing off Rugby AU's new broadcast offering

LBJ, could you elaborate on what you mean by “I would go further and argue that there are no players that have been selected through the NRC”, please?

Because the immediate reaction to that statement is not exactly family-friendly, and I’m hoping I’m misinterpreting what you mean..

Optus reportedly eyeing off Rugby AU's new broadcast offering

Come on Moa, one of most common words used in criticisms of both Michael Cheika and Raelene Castle was inept!!

Perfect timing: The round that has Super Rugby AU at sixes and sevens

And he definitely does, have plenty of potential. Dan McKellar has said a few times there was nothing between them in pre-season and coming into the first game..

Perfect timing: The round that has Super Rugby AU at sixes and sevens

I’ve not seen that, but I suspect that might be more the Courier Mail? I’m not seeing that in the Telegraph or The Australian, where they both have dedicated rugby writers in place.

Don’t disagree with your point above about player development, and it could well be TV driven again, but I will remain surprised. I even look forward to being surprised..

Optus reportedly eyeing off Rugby AU's new broadcast offering

It impacts the competition Sheikh, for sure, but it not to the extent expressed above: “The home/away designation is therefore quite meaningless in this year’s competition” just isn’t true..

Perfect timing: The round that has Super Rugby AU at sixes and sevens

Yeah, a fair question Mitch, and one I can easily see the Brumbies asking of themselves.

Did their own game plan contribute to Kuenzle having a hard time of it? All valid questions..

Perfect timing: The round that has Super Rugby AU at sixes and sevens

Boz, I’ll be pleasantly shocked if the NRC makes a comeback next year.

It made sense to not play it this year, which is the last year of the original Fox deal, and I think it hasn’t been mentioned in this new bundle of Rugby Australia ‘product’ for very obvious reasons..

Optus reportedly eyeing off Rugby AU's new broadcast offering

No, I knew the Reds’ record wasn’t great – the Brumbies went 15 & 1 from 1996 through to 2010, and the Reds didn’t win in Canberra until 2011.

In fact the record in Canberra is still Brumbies 17 Reds 3!

Perfect timing: The round that has Super Rugby AU at sixes and sevens

😱 It’s true! Just looked it up..

BRU v RED (since 1996) Played 35, won 26, lost 8, 1 draw.

BRU v REB (since 2011) Played 20, won 11, lost 9.

Perfect timing: The round that has Super Rugby AU at sixes and sevens

Kayo has had a massive surge in subs, too, something like 140-150K since the end of June!

Perfect timing: The round that has Super Rugby AU at sixes and sevens

I didn’t mention specifically Robbo, but I consider those factors impacting the Force and Rebels all the time. From one game to the next, it’s actually hard to know how it impacts them.

The Rebels for eg, will be riding high with confidence now, but this might just be the week where homesickness and the drain of living out of a suitcase really kicks in for a couple of players.

Equally, the Force might be really battling this week to ‘get up’ for a game after a bye while on tour.

The Rebels I know had been (and may still be) trying to seek a Qld exemption for Cottrell as a Qld resident, in the hope that he’d be able to meet them in Brisbane this week. And I’m sure they’d love to be able to have Tom English and Ross Haylett-Petty available, too..

Perfect timing: The round that has Super Rugby AU at sixes and sevens

That’s the thing now Jarrod, it feels like the Tahs should start comfortable favourites, but what does that even mean now?!

Perfect timing: The round that has Super Rugby AU at sixes and sevens

Made that very point above BS. He’s played one game off the bench, reckon it would be a bit much to ask him to start a game now..

Perfect timing: The round that has Super Rugby AU at sixes and sevens

Well, not my tipping sheet, Mzil, that’s for sure!

In fact, only Geoff’s punt on the Rebels saved us from a complete AU wipeout in Round 6! 😂

Perfect timing: The round that has Super Rugby AU at sixes and sevens

Can’t argue with that, SMI. I think we undervalue a left-footer, too..

Perfect timing: The round that has Super Rugby AU at sixes and sevens

I get your point Kova, but I reckon most teams with a 38-point halftime lead would make a similar decision when faced with the torrential rain that appeared around halftime..

Perfect timing: The round that has Super Rugby AU at sixes and sevens

Very good Terry, very good. And well earned smugness, too, might I say.. 😁

Hanigan’s been getting better and better since his return, but I agree with you, he was excellent v Qld.

Perfect timing: The round that has Super Rugby AU at sixes and sevens