The Roar
The Roar


Roar Guru

Joined February 2008







Rugby Tragic, love all facets of the sport.



Roar Guru
Roar Guru

An update on my rugby tribe

I wrote an article on this site a few years ago entitled ‘The anatomy of the tribe‘, and while I thought it was one of my best pieces – and I still do – it attracted only four comments, and one of them was mine.

One out of left field – good 15’s often translate to good 10’s (eg Steve Larkham) – how would Banks, HP or Maddocks go?

So who should play ten for Australia?

It might be a bit mean spirited of me, but my first thought after the great result on Saturday was that the Pumas seem to have taken any excuses the Boks made for not turning up, right away from them.

437 days of No Rugby, to beat the AB’s is nothing short of fantastic. Maybe strength and conditioning had a lot to do with it and it will be interesting to see if they are able to play with the same intensity next weekend, but the Wallabies will be taking no chances.

Now just waiting for the Saffas’ sour grapes – who is going to be the first to say … we could have won that, easily? ..coulda, shoulda ….. didn’t front up.

The Wrap: A great new broadcast deal for rugby? Depends on who’s telling the story

A stupid, meaningless idea. Period.

State of Union is a disastrous idea

OK, Brett,
Spill ya guts!! What is your new secret moniker and are you starting out as a Roar Rookie?
Whatever, thanks for your wonderful input over the years, and we wish you well for wherever your career takes you.
Rugby has been the winner!

Welcome competition in the rugby broadcast rights race - and a farewell, for now…

I tend to agree that it is divisive. The rednecks necks just get a bit redder.
As influencers, which all Wallabies are, there are many ways they can individually fight for a cause. David Pocock is a shining example, and I am willing to bet thst thete are many of the lads helping good causes, quietly behind the scenes.Just wearing and showing pride in the indigenous jersey is a great start. I trust that they will have a team meeting about it. Rugby is a team game where you fight for your brothers. If they all take the knee that is a show of solidarity. If they all stand, as one, that is, too. Personally, I hope they all stand.

The Wallabies taking a knee is a matter of conscience

I’m a bit gutted by this news, though I understand it and, no disrespect to Nic White.
I’ve watched Joe since his school boy days at Marist Canberra. Suspect he would have liked to remain a Brumby, but the cards don’t always fall where you want them to.
He is a player that has earned everyone’s respect and that is because he is great man of Champagnat. Nuff said.
Go well Joe, and if you get a start in the Tests, go for it. We love the way that you play.

Rebels sign Brumbies halfback Joe Powell

JAPANZ!! Simples!

As South Africa head north, Australia and New Zealand must remember they're better together

It was inevitable and thank goodness the decision is made.
The only real regret will come from NZ where the AB’s have always felt that they needed to test themselves against the boks.
If that is now over it is not a bad thing, because we can now all get on with a rethink/ re-alignment.
If the Kiwis traditionally thought that they were the most eastern of all Rugby nations, then all we have to do is look further east – let’s start aligning, not with just Polynesia, but further east like Hawaii and the mainland, but let’s also look to the NH in our own time zones, HK, Singapore, Japan and even the West Coast of North America, which takes in some big “towns” like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Vancouver.
I’ll say it again, as I have been saying all year – this COVID year of 2020 has presented us with heaps of challenges and opportunities – many of them will come to nought, but get them on the table and be prepared to discuss and think outside the box!

Super Rugby as we know it all but over after South Africa votes to quit, send teams to Europe instead

A no brainer based on his performances to date. He has stepped up and accepted the challenge and that is the way it should always be. Dave Rennie appears to have reinforced this ethic.

Michael Hooper will remain as Wallabies captain for 2020

Here are a few random educated guesses:-
1. Andrew Forrest drove a hard bargain with RA and possibly saved their sorry arses
2. Anyone who is loyal to the Force, will get loyalty back in spades from Mr Forrest.
3. Force are on the cusp of something good, if not great.
4. They will recruit well, in the off-season.
5. Kyle Godwin and Jono Lance, will figure in David Rennie’s calculations – possibly this year.
6. Byron Ralston is definitely on the radar
7. Andrew Ready also and may also appear this year. The Force will develop him.
8. Marcel Brache is very under-rated – it is no coincidence that in the early games, he was the glue in the mid-field and their narrow losses also coincided with him being subbed off. USA is lucky to have him.
9. WA Rugby is quietly developing – they have a good Premier comp, their academies are working and they have good pathways – if the alicadoos of NSW and QLD ever get their heads out from where the “sun don’t shine” they would see this.
10. But hey – these are people who would happily see the demise of the Brumbies, the most successful franchise – because the Randwickians, the Sydney Universitarians and the Eastern Suburbians and everyone else north of Botany Bay think they have a god-given right to run Rugby, not to mention the Brisbanians, who, even today haven’t figured out how to keep their best players in Qld

…. jus sayin!

Western Force lock down skipper with contract extension

I think that the captains come down to Michael Hooper or Liam Wright.

Wallabies squad for 2020 international season revealed

Not one Force player – what the…?

Wallabies squad for 2020 international season revealed

….do you think it was a smokescreen?

The Brumbies just don't have the tools to compete with the Reds

…..let them eat cake!

The magic of the Shute Shield

Spot on

The magic of the Shute Shield

Absolutely, just like Cricket does.

The magic of the Shute Shield

I think that they tried to play at too high a tempo, and it came unstuck.

The Brumbies just don't have the tools to compete with the Reds

SA is, actually, the ultimate AFL state – they are landlocked between two “warring states” -Vic and WA – yet they have an active club rugby competition – I’vebeen there, and seen it for myself.

The problem is that any talented player will leave for chances elsewhere. I am not across whether there are any “Rugby schools” in Adelaide – I just don’t know, but I am guessing that talent identification is a real issue.

I would think that getting it going in SA is probably a 20 year project, but we should not be shy about that (think I might research it and write and article on it) – 1st step is to get it into schools -not just private schools – then see if ‘Rugba League’ is not already recruiting there – bet they are! – then get an Academy going – if SA Rugby needs help then get them a benefactor.

Then get a Super Rugby side based in Adelaide – won’t be easy but there are enough Rugby journeymen out there, to get a squad developed – then set about a massive marketing campaign to win hearts and minds – it can be done and if if works would be a massive bridge between Vic and WA, and he time-zone is probably friendly to a broadcaster.

Let’s face it – if you were the sixth best half or hooker in the Sydney or Canberra or Brisbane or Melbourne or Perth competition would you have a crack at Adelaide? If you are ambitious but not THE most talented, you may well. .. Don’t even bother to answer that if you are over 28 yrs old – leave it to the youngsters!

The only way to stop that is to to include them, and THEN WAIT – it will take time, but it can happen.

We have so many directions that Rugby can take in Oz, that we have never explored, let’s get on with it.

The shifting geopolitics of rugby

They killed off the Canberra Kookaburras in the early ’90’s because the north harbour clubs hated the travel – even Southern Districts struggled with that early on.

The shifting geopolitics of rugby

So, we are isolated – let’s look at that scenario.

Point 1 – it won’t affect the quality of our schools, academies, provincial and, ultimately national sides. So there is unlikely to be little, if any lessening of standards or quality.

Point 2 – we will pull in Sth Pacific sides, Japan and US sides – that will take time, and rugby purists hate taking time, but it will improve our bloc.

Point 3 – SA sides will hate the fact that they can’t ultimately test themselves against the AB’s – it’s just the way it is. It’s a part of their DNA – they have to test themselves against the best -apartheid proved it.

Point 4 – if we can then split the world into 2 definable blocs there will, ultimately be more appetite for a proper World Rugby season – one of the two blocs will be forced, by necessity or economics, to suck it up and agree to it.

Point 5 – if SH holds its nerve (which will mean operating within financial constraints that might be tough but are designed to ensure that there is no lessening of quality at the top) then it can stare down the North.

We need to prepare for the eventuality that COVID could go on for a while, and severely disrupt our lives, in ways that we cannot predict. Rugby needs to get onboard the “uncertainty train” and realise that we don’t know what we don’t know. In Rugby parlance, that means, we play what is in front of us, while being able to think on our feet, while the ‘back office” tries to predict the future.


The shifting geopolitics of rugby

They definitely went to school on it, and the second shove coming in from Wright was very noticeable. Their formation never lost its structure.
It’s like every tactic in Rugby – the innovator gets pay out of it for a limited period, but, eventually good coaches figure it out and it might be time for the lads to consider it Plan B.
The Reds have definitely cracked that code and the thing I love about their game is that they show no fear.
(I’ve got a couple of other ideas for Laurie, but I don’t have his number)

The Brumbies just don't have the tools to compete with the Reds

Here is my take on it, Rhys.

I was at the game and we had great seats half way up the first tier, just near the 22 – I remarked to one of my group, “we’re in a great position to watch the rolling maul in the 2nd half”. Reds put paid to that idea – they worked out how to defend it and not one of the Brumbies mauls came to anything – they all went static, as the Reds figured out how to set their formation, take a quick step back and them put on a second shove, that completely stopped the Brumbies maul in its tracks and the Brumbies were forced to use it.

I don’t know if it was a deliberate tactic, but White never ran around the scrum base of the back or a ruck once – he went lateral every time and Kuenzle spent his night running sideways and throwing (often low) bullets and cut outs, which often went to ground. There was no attempt to earn the right to go wide and when it was taken up the middle, mostly by forwards, it was often fumbled.

Plus there were just too many penalties.

Kuridrani and Banks looked good in patches, but no real penetration. Pete Samu had a good game and really needs to either play a full 80 or come on as a finisher. He needs to be there at the end.

Loneragan tried to straighten things up but too little avail, as the game was pretty much gone by the time he got on.

The Reds, by comparison were more composed. JOC sat back in the pocket with all the time in the world to direct the traffic. Tupou (the centre trapped in a prop’s body) played in the wider channels and fed off O’Connor to make space for Petaia and the wingers. They were dangerous all night in the right side tramtracks, and Petaia made good ground with each touch as did Jock Campbell.

The Reds back row, as usual, had a great game in the tight and were responsible for a lot of turnover ball.

Even though I live in Brisbane, I am a lifetime Brumbies fan, and it is fair to say that to say that I saw it as a “bad night at the office”, but managed to remain gracious to my hosts. Very disappointing.

Joe Powell needs to start in the next game- that could not be clearer. Kuenzle has to try to attack the line and get the momentum going forward. Just a shame that Noah won’t play. He would make things a lot harder for JOC, assuming that the Reds make the final.
Whole different ball game if it’s the Rebels and the Brumbies D will need to be on song for that. Haylett-Petty, Hodge and Koroibete were a handful for the Force and were ultimately responsible for their undoing, in my opinion.

A fantastic game, and I was gutted for the Force.

What a great season!

The Brumbies just don't have the tools to compete with the Reds

There is a way that you can get even more enjoyment out of it – and that is to join a club, then put your hand up as a volunteer – it will take a few weeks, but you will get to know some blokes and start to get involved and before you know it, you are working on the barbie, or sweeping out the sheds, and being drawn into the great family of club rugby.
I joined Norths in Sydney in ’94 after being out of Sydney for a number of years. On the advice of the great Richard Tombs, who I had met at a lunch, I fronted up to a trial game at North Head, introduced myself to the GM, the inimitable Tony Hearne, was given a job running water and by the middle of next week, the club President, former Wallaby Russ Tulloch, asked me to be 6th grade manager – a great season – a huge amount of fun, the club paid for me to do a Level 2 coaches course and then I coached the mighty 5ths to a GF in 98 – I left Sydney that year for Canberra, but the love that I feel in my heart for the mighty Northern Suburbs will never wane. That is the essence of it.
I went to Canberra, became a rusted on Brumbies supporter, but never got into a Canberra club.
Moved to Brisbane a few years ago. My boy played at Jeeps (GPS) but I have to say, I never got into it,, so when we recently moved to the inner north, I joined up with Brothers. I had known Tony Shaw when he spent a couple of years at Norths in Sydney, and Matty Kaye, their current GM had been my son’s coach at Brumbies Under 15’s so it felt like a fit.
Put my hand up for a job – they asked me to be the emergency 5th grade assistant coach, as they had some issues with the coach and manager not always being able to get away from work, so my first gig was their last pre-season trial -v- Sunnybank. Duly turned up, observed, met a few blokes and went home.
Next day, the elephant in the room struck – COVID – season called off – the shortest assistant coaching career in history – 1 day!
Anyway, then my new mate JD, the team manager decided to use COVID as his excuse to retire, and did.. so they don’t need me but at least I put my hand up. That is the nub of club rugby and the tribe.
My point is that you will always get more out of it if you get involved. It is a very rich tapestry.

The magic of the Shute Shield

“The soil releasing its carbon” You must have been a back and never suffered a broken schnozz – I can’t even smell my own farts (which is a big disappointment!).

I just have to take everyone else’s word for it – but, then again, if you can’t smell ’em do they really stink?

But, really, I do think that it will be a very different dynamic this year, particularly if we send a bunch of blokes over the ditch who have no fear.

Bring it on, I say!

Some positives from COVID

Force were already doing a lot of the development stuff when they were booted last time, and in my view should never have been.

My oft repeated mantra is that Aussie Rugby people always want quick, if not instant, results. You have to give things time to develop. Let’s accept the fact that NSW and Qld believe that they have a god given right to be the arbiters of whatever happens in Rugby. We get that and after 25 years, the Brumbies, probably the most consistent and successful of the SR franchises have not won universal acceptance – we get it – the “outsiders” will never be shown that generosity of spirit that they should be. The Qld and NSW Unions have a 100 or so years headstart, but if we don’t share the experience, as well as the largesse, around, we will still be having this conversation in another 100 years.

Other states can develop nursery schools and academies and players, in the professional era should not be concerned about tribalism. When a kid is breaking into the big time in the US in the major league sports, he goes where he can get the best deal. That should be our thinking.

I would love to see the universities here, offering scholarships and actively recruiting to their local SR franchise, and running the academies and, over time, even out the playing fields.

The case for the Western Force