The Roar
The Roar


Roar Rookie

Joined October 2018









Thanks Nicholas mate.

For Reece Hodge, I think it is really important for him to nail down one position. Yes his versatility is a big asset but I think he needs to be able to focus on position and doing that well. Hopefully he gets more regular time at fullback. He will get better under the high ball the more he plays there.

Cooper and Kerevi offer a lot and the instant impact they have made has been great for the Wallabies. I think Kerevi has benefited from being involved in the 7s at the Olympics. Seems to look really athletic and powerful at the moment,

Coach’s Corner Issue 27: Who is really the number one team in the world?

I really like this match day 23 and especially the starting XV. I think Jacobson is a good call at number 8 to combat the Boks pack. He is physical but offers a lot with his mobility and ball skills. Bridge with his aerial game is a wise decision. This is also a good test for Rieko Ioane at centre. He has shown some good glimpses there and is going to be up against a strong defender in Am.

'We're aware of the history': Foster names strongest available side for All Blacks clash with Boks

Thanks Geoff. Great read and has boosted my anticipation levels even more.

It is a shame this could not have been played in either New Zealand or South Africa due to current circumstances. Dunedin would have been special as that was where the first game game was played but do wonder if Ellis Park or Eden Park would been more momentous in a “normal world”.

I arrived in 1982 so missed 1981. That must have been a really difficult time and seeing the footage is sad to see New Zealand in that state. From the highlights I have seen, the test series seemed to be of high quality.

Over the last few years I have really enjoyed the matches played in South Africa. 2013 was great but also 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018 were all great games.

Cannot wait for Saturday.

Celebrating 100 Tests and 100 years: 'There's never a winner in NZ vs South Africa, just the next battle'

Hey Guys

1. With South Africa, the lack of sting in defence against the Wallabies surprised me. I think this is a result of some fatigue especially with their big men. Some look very jaded. I am not surprised they have not played with more attacking intention. I read an article this morning with Jacques Nienaber and Faf de Klerk saying they are going back to their DNA against the All Blacks and were guilty of playing too much rugby against the Wallabies (hmmmm).

2. I am a bit reluctant to lock in biggest winners and losers with 2 more weeks left but at this stage:

Biggest Winner: Quade Cooper. What a great comeback and redemption. Has matured and directed the Wallabies well. In the coming weeks if the All Blacks win both games against the Boks, Ian Foster will be making a good case and proving a few people wrong.

Biggest Loser: The Springboks as I would have expected them to win at least one of the games against the Wallabies. Two losses to the All Blacks will be panic stations for them.

The Thursday rugby two-up: Quick falls and rough landings

Great analysis Nicholas. Thanks.

A couple of things I liked from the Wallabies on Saturday with the tries they score. On Ikitau’s second try, I liked how Koriobete received the inside pass in a roving role. That is a good to second guess and hold the defensive line. The other was the composure of Samu in his break. He made the right call not passing too early. He also managed to buy a couple of more seconds when he wasn’t originally held in the tackle.

The Springboks attack shape is a concern. Your picture of them all lined up in a straight line shows that there is a lack of natural attack instinct and that their game plan is too robotic.

I am really likely the approach of the English referees. It promotes such a better game.

How the Springboks hit an English speed bump at Suncorp

This is why rugby is trouble. Too many grey areas in referee interpretation and people seeing an incident in so many ways. Also people are undermining game authorities. The way the game is refereed that was a red card all day. The fact that the citing commissioner saw it as a red card should have been back up by the judicial committee.

UPDATED: Springbok CLEARED as citing dismissed for brutal Kerevi clean out

All good mate.

The ‘clunk’ of another All Black piece falling into place under coach Foster

I am a big fan of Goodhue but I think he maybe surpassed as a starter in the All Black midfield once he is fit. Havili/ALB are gelling quite well and with there not being a settled midfield for the last 6 years they would be silly to break this.

The ‘clunk’ of another All Black piece falling into place under coach Foster

Thanks Brett.
Len Ikitau is starting to show how valuable he is in the Wallaby backline. His left foot kicking option in general play is a great component to his game. Both his tries were well taken and the more he plays with Kerevi could see a really well balance midfield combination develop nicely.
On Jasper Wiese’s red card. I was surprised that was not a red card with how the game is refereed. I am glad the judicial committee have recognised this now.
Special mention must go to Michael Hooper. He is an inspirational leader.
Big test now for the Wallabies is not to slip on the momentum they have generated over the last 2 weeks. I am imagining there will be changes in one of the Pumas tests and will be a big onus on those fresh players to keep the form going.

A bullet pass from a lock, and other wonders from the Wallabies’ Brisbane win

ALB spoke pre-match and said he is having hamstring issues and could still be a couple of week a way.

Yeah Bower has made a good fist of things so far. I read Laurie Mains critique of the Springboks yesterday and he mentioned their props are not mobile. We have an advantage there as long as it does not compromise set piece parity (or even better dominance). Tupou showed on Saturday the advantage of being a front-rower who can move and has some skill.

The ‘clunk’ of another All Black piece falling into place under coach Foster

Another top quality article. Thanks Highlander mate.

The front row play around general play has been great to watch. Nepo Laulala has improved around the field this season and he is hitting hard. Samisoni Taukei’aho impressed me on the weekend. Everything he did was with purpose and impact. Will be interested to see if he or Aumua comes off the bench this week (assuming Taylor starts).

Scott Barrett has always been good and it looks like he is relishing the chance to start more often. Jacobson has been impressive all year and I think he is our best number 8 option currently. A lot of the loose forward balance depends on where Savea plays. I have a feeling the trio this week will be 6. Ioane, 7. Papalii, 8. Savea especially that Ioane and Papalii where rested.

Havili has become the glue man in our backline and has shown what a great asset he is. This week a lot will depend on whether ALB is fit. If not I would imagine R. Ioane stays at 13.

Progress is being made and I think we are starting to see Foster bring in his own style.

The ‘clunk’ of another All Black piece falling into place under coach Foster

Hey Nicholas

If possible could you please highlight Ethan Blackadders workrate in the lead up to Samisoni Taukei’aho’s try on the weekend. He seemed to feature about 5 times?

Get your questions in for Issue 27 of Coach's Corner

I feel sorry for rugby referees at all levels of the game. It is one of the hardest sports to officiate. There is so much moving parts it is near impossible to see everything especially at the top level. I have refereed a few school games over the last decade and you do need a real thick skin as a ref. You get comments from players, coaches and fans about how you should be officiating.

At the top level there has become an over-reliance on the TMO and I think a lot of referees are second guessing themselves. The laws of the game do not help either. We just need to look at the Jordie Barrett red card the other week. To the letter of the law that is the correct ruling then the governing body recinders the red card.

Remeber with out a ref, there is no game.

Refereeing is ruining rugby

“At the risk of one too many TV and film metaphors, they were Steve Carrell’s 40-year-old Virgin – vaguely aware of an opportunity at their fingertips to do something fruitful and pleasurable but with no real idea of how to go about it.”

Great analogy there Geoff mate. And you are so right. It seems that South Africa cannot play on natural instinct and what is in front of them, compared to the other teams in the competition. I remember Willie Le Roux a few years back was good to watch on attack. We seldom see him offer that same spark now. Getting Kolbe back will help lift but not sure if they are willing to give any other attacking minded players a go especially against the All Blacks.

One All Black, I was impressed with was Samisoni Taukei’aho. I though he brought some great go forward, physicality and scrummed really well. Blackadder also played well. The lead up to Taukei’aho’s try, Blackadder featured about 4 or 5 times.

The Wrap: Wallabies rocket ahead while the Springboks are lost in space

Thanks Nicholas. Having a left footed mid-field or outside back is a valuable weapon in general play. Relieves a large amount of pressure especially when on the left side of the field. That will be one reason why Ikitau continues to be selected. Lets hope his left boot is more utilised moving forward.

Coach’s Corner Issue 26: Is Dave Rennie thinking outside the 'Boks?

A number of changes were always going to be made for this test. I was surprised that the whole forward pack has been changed. With Tuipulotu having a few weeks off, I would have had him come off the bench.

I have been impressed with Taukei’aho so far and a start is a good reward for him. I am also interested in seeing how the midfield combine.

'We're expecting a huge response': All Blacks make 11 changes and brace for Pumas revenge mission

Yeah I am surprised he’s starting after a long injury lay-off. I would have eased him back off the bench. Hopefully he gets involved and continues the good work that the other locks have done so far this year.

'We're expecting a huge response': All Blacks make 11 changes and brace for Pumas revenge mission

Yeah that is a big loss. He pretty much dictates the tempo the All Blacks play at and is streets ahead of any other halfback in NZ. NZ Broadcaster Nigel Yalden asked on his Facebook live show last night who would be the bigger loss out of Smith and Whitelock vs Boks. 54% went with Smith. I went with Whitelock based on what I mentioned in my original comment. If it had been against any other team, I would have said Smith.

I think this break for Aaron Smith will be a blessing in disguise. For him it freshens him up and he is still going to get some rugby with Manawatu. If he does not go on any part of the tour, the All Blacks should get another young halfback over to get into the environment. Smith and Weber are both past 30 and TJ Perenara is 30 next year. Finlay Christie is 26 this year. Folau Fakatava would have been an option but he was injured early this year.

The Thursday rugby two-up: Redemption and the power of old blokes

Yep he does make some silly decisions and give away a few reckless penalties. He has been a head of Tuipulotu right through his career I reckon.

The Thursday rugby two-up: Redemption and the power of old blokes

Good point Geoff on Scott Barrett. The games against the Boks could be the making of him. I have always rated him as he has a great all-round game. He has had 2 strong outings in the last 2 weeks.

The Thursday rugby two-up: Redemption and the power of old blokes

Hey Lads

Question 1: Sam Whitelock is going to be missed for the All Blacks when we play South Africa. His leadership, big match temperament, lineout prowess and physicality against an impressive pack does leave a slight hole. Him and Etzebeth always have good battles and it is a shame we won’t see that for the 100th match against the two great rugby nations.

Question 2: Does open the door for the All Blacks to be the front-runners but I still think the competition has some life in it. If the Boks get revenge this week against the All Blacks on the 25th there could be a good finish in the last round.

The Thursday rugby two-up: Redemption and the power of old blokes

Great analysis Nicholas as always. Thanks.

Great show of character from Quade Cooper on the weekend. He has come of age and I think when Thorn let him go that may have been the best thing for him. Glad to see he is back on the International stage. That extra depth on attack you highlighted showed a good way to combat the Boks defence. Kellaways try was really well worked.

A couple of things I will be interested in this week is:

1. Can the Wallabies repeat their efforts?
2. If James O’Connor is fit, do him and Quade both play?
3. Does South Africa alter their game plan?

Rugby Championship turnaround: What a difference a Quade makes

That is so true. They get the high performance training at club level but then at International level the gulf happens. I think it is a combination of things. They are generally in camp for a lot shorter time as they have to come from all over the world. The Pacific Island teams have to rely on semi-professional or amateur players to assemble full squads especially in the COVID-19 world. The Tongan team that played the All Blacks this year was a prime example.

The player gets put in a real tough situation when their club threatens them with reduced or no pay if they attend a World Cup. A lot of these Pacific Island players are not only supporting their immediate family but extended family back in the pacific.

Residency and eligibility rule changes will help. I personally dont agree with the 7s loophole as that only gets backs and loose forwards. I think a simple rule if a player has played for one country and wants to change to another, they have a 4 year waiting period.

World Rugby explores option of making RWC a biennial event

Thanks Brett.

This is a big win for Australia. A good character boost for them. The key now is can they go again and beat the Boks for a second straight week.

A rapid Wallabies turnaround, and other non-Cooper observations

1996 and 1997 were sublime years for All Black Rugby. They were amazing to watch. The confidence and skill they played with was unmatched.

A rapid Wallabies turnaround, and other non-Cooper observations