Joined September 2017
Precisely terrykid. The extra five days rest will make all the difference. I can see Scotland staying close for 60 minutes, but then heavy legs will set in. For the sake of ongoing local interest and just because they deserve it, Japan to go through!
Rugby World Cup tipping Week 4: now we're getting serious
Yep, some real ‘must-win’ games which is great for the spectators. My only hope is that the refs continue to do a good overall job and that they perhaps think about proactively dealing with the players running on from the in-goal area. My only disappointment has been with some of the scheduling for certain teams, where short turnarounds have proven significant.
Rugby World Cup tipping Week 2: into the grind
Those are my feelings and I have mentioned as much in comments on this site before – about the Wallabies exceeding the expectations of doubting fans. All it takes is a yellow card, an injury, an opposition ‘off’ day… and the Australian team progresses. I hesitate to say it but, at the back of my mind, in the dark recesses where obviously silly ideas are banished to, I have one that keeps nagging me – that Wales don’t progress from the pool.
Why all Wallabies supporters should be watching Wales vs Ireland this weekend
“Presuming the Wallabies top their pool and win their quarter-final….” I hope that they do, but you are drawing a long bow I think. Still, I agree that this game is going to be really interesting to watch.
Why all Wallabies supporters should be watching Wales vs Ireland this weekend
I was looking forward to this mornings Wrap Geoff and, as I was returning home from work, was thinking about the mindset of the Wallabies too. Last week, the AB’s (and perhaps I am wrong) thought they could ‘phone it in’ and were expecting to win, such is their current appraisal of the Australian threat. The loss last week was necessary for the AB’s to move forward, just as the win was necessary for the WB’s to move forward as well. But I stand by my opinion that Australia has a chance of doing very well at this World Cup – provided they do not meet the AB’s!
I took the time to watch the recent Welsh and English games and was left underwhelmed with the lack of ingenuity on attack, although the line speed in defence seems to be very fast. Will the team that rushes the best win the tournament? It seems that the player best positioned to deal with the rush is the 9 and I am beginning to think that this WC could be decided by these little men.
The Wrap: Normal order restored in Bledisloe Cup whitewash
“But I’m always wary of writing off champions too early”. True, true, true. Geoff, I think that this loss is exactly what NZ needed – a bit of kick in the pants. They need to re-identify what it is that makes them such a good side and perhaps, just perhaps, stop trying to over-outfox everyone.
The Wrap: Resurgent Wallabies place one hand on the Bledisloe Cup
I agree Harry. There was something a little too deliberate about the approach in the last two games. The intention to play very flat when in attack was one, as was the emphasis on their defensive systems (as you allude to in your comment). If the old analogy of ‘defence wins championships’ rings true again at this WC, then the All Black performances so far this year would serve to reinforce the thinking of both you and Steve Hansen.
Wallabies and All Blacks gamble at Perth, are they defying the odds? Good for them
Imagine for a moment the jealousy that should be levelled at Australia for being able to have their final two pre-world cup matches against the number one ranked team? This is the ideal preparation for the Wallabies and should work considerably in their favour come September. If I am permitted to take the analogy further it’s a bit like being able to warm up with Roger Federer when you are still outside the top 50. On a more serious note, it is great to see that Chieka and Grey have been forced away (as surely must be the case?) from the defensive patterns by the new selection team. Australia are still a good chance to do well at the Cup. “Keep taking the kicks for goal Michael!”
A win, signs of improvement, but still plenty of questions for the Wallabies
I suspect that Barrett may be a little bit of a distraction here. Mounga’s kicking game (general and from the tee) is very good and will be vital in countering the rush defence, while he also offers the backs outside him with more opportunities. But, when all is said and done, it don’t mean a thing until the forwards get their hands on the ball and create go-forward. I, for one, will be closely watching the loosies. The opportunity to win or lose the game may well rest on their shoulders.
Richie Mo'unga named to start alongside Beauden Barrett for All Blacks vs Boks
Probably neither Tim. We have to beat them in any case to ensure we finish top. It could be a cracker of a game if AUS and JOR are tied on points going into the final fixture though!
First Socceroos 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying fixtures revealed
Success for Australia at the RC and World Cup has less to do with the players than the coach. Ordinarily, players tend to drive each other to higher levels of achievement (every team should have a 2nd stringer pushing for selection as an example) and a coach can harness this energy. As so many have said before, the hope is that Chieka is not given the freedom to continue with selections that have proven poor for periods during the last four years, rather that the best players are picked in their best positions. I genuinely believe (and have said as much to people) that Australia is a chance at this World Cup, provided one or two issues are dealt with rationally. Player selection is the first issue, followed by flexibility in game planning. I, like so many others who contribute to this forum, hope that this occurs.
Brumbies win the best medicine to counter Folau Fatigue
Great to see players in their (or coming into) their prime – I have just read up on the three latest signings and am genuinely looking forward to this season. After the Aloisi years, I hope that the 2019 season is an improvement.
Roar sign O'Donovan to lead the attack
A good article Stuart and ‘to the point’. How people work effectively together and in what situations those relationships can bloom is impossible to predict! While it would be nice to know the juicy details of dismissals like Stajcic’s, I prefer to be left in the dark and let him get on with the next chapter of his professional career. Surveys such as the one that led to his firing can push aside qualities of true leadership and expertise, replacing them with a contest for popularity. I enjoyed your article. Keep up the good work.
Has the man responsible for the Matildas' 'toxic culture' repaired one at the Mariners?
It reminds me of football (soccer) where players find themselves in different areas of the pitch but expected, and able, to execute the same skills…. except…. that rugby is not football. I wonder whether Chieka, instead of making a substantive effort to develop a wider squad of say 40-50 players, is intent on using a smaller number of ‘reliable’ players in the expectation that they will be able to execute their skills in different areas of the pitch. I use midfield as an example; instead of having three to four specialist, but different, players available (think Williams, Crotty, Laumape, Goodhue for the AB’s), he insteads uses Foley Toomua, Hodge and Kerevi in rotation, one of whom shouldn’t be there, and one who should be focusing only on 10/12. It is all very confusing indeed. And a shame to watch.
Why do the Wallabies make the game more difficult?
Absolutely correct Ralph. Unless rules are changed, I don’t see how the balance of a team can tip too far in favour of size. We have to acknowledge that every player is now bigger compared to, say, twenty years ago, and this lends weight to the argument for larger players. But… the object of the game is to move the ball into a space that works to your advantage, whether that advantage be a lineout, scrum or broken field play etc. Size may lead to gain line advantage, but skill is a far more valuable asset.
Has running rugby had its day?
I agree with you Buckman. To add, I watched a replay last night, volume off and took particular interest in a couple of things. Up until about minute 60, every Irish kick landed within 30 metres of the kicker, enabling the defensive line to snuff out any opportunity for a pass (and counter-attack) into space by an All Black = clever. This reduced the game into a series of short arm punching contests, much like a fighter getting inside the guard of his more expansive and flexible opponent. But to your point about favouritism… we’re wasting our time, it exists only in the fans mind! As you correctly suggest (and Schmidt hinted at), the Irish played the game of their lives and were visibly shattered at the end of the game. The loss (from an AB supporters view) is really good for the team and coaching staff, just as a win for the Irish has now fueled genuine interest in next years Cup. On a side note, if the Wallabies and Springboks win this weekend, does that not throw all conjectures into further disarray. I hope it happens!
The biter bit: Ireland wrong-foot the All Blacks in Dublin
I watched the AB game last night on replay. I didn’t recognise half of the team and couldn’t name many of the replacement forwards. I bring this up only to articulate the difference between Wallaby selection and rotation policy and that of NZ. Others have pointed out the lack of game time given to (in particular) your halves so it would be pointless to drag that out but there is, at least to this observer, an odd imbalance to this Australian team. From coach right through to #23 on squad day, there are individuals incapable of fulfilling their duties because of size, technique and temperament. I wonder how many young players watch Chieka and think to themselves “I would love to work under that coach”? Here’s hoping everyone has a good rest and holiday before the next season.
The Wrap: Wallabies humiliation needs a reaction, not overreaction
Yes, a massive few weeks coming up. With so many challenges on so many fronts (Matildas, FFA Cup, Socceroos, A-League) I hope that people are realistic with expectations! In any case, we are starting to see the wide appeal that football can offer. Personally, the Socceroos result in the first leg is the most important one – and one that is hardest to pick. On paper we should win, but on the field….. I am nervous already!
October looms as critical juncture for Australian football
An international season is imminent. Is there any reason to suspect that an international domestic competition will also appear? Probably. The travel route for teams (let’s presume that the number of 2018 SR teams remain through the next broadcast deal) is the question and maybe this route involves Africa? Perhaps the current involvement of two SA teams in Europe offers a glimpse into the future of Super Rugby?
The Wrap: Is Super Rugby dead? Don’t bet on it just yet