The Roar
The Roar


Roar Guru

Joined February 2008







Rugby Tragic, love all facets of the sport.



You’d have to concede that, with AFL stuttering to a stop, it less likely than not that RA’s hand will be forced

Will the new Super Rugby even get off the ground?

Might even be possible to bring back some of the NH players who aren’t playing at present – such as Coleman and White, which would then make them eligible for test selection, travel bans of course, being a bit of an obstacle

Force to make comeback as Rugby AU announce domestic comp for remainder of Super Rugby season

Details, as yet are virtually non-existent, but an analysis of the remainder of the season showed that each Super Rugby team has at least four local derbies still to be played and that is why the Western Force would slot in perfectly.

Given that the Australian government has decreed that all games must be played behind closed doors, with no crowds, it would make sense for all teams to relocate to one city as their training base and play all matches at one venue.

At the end of the day, this is being done for TV audiences, so it would make sense that there is one central TV setup for all games.

They could play doubleheaders, say at 5 pm and 7 pm, as Perth, the home audience of Western Force is two hours behind the eastern cities,

It gives them the opportunity to play in smaller stadiums, use special effects, crowd noise etc. It means the various media outlets can all be represented with their correspondents all in the one place.

Makes complete sense and cuts down on a lot of travel.

Force to make comeback as Rugby AU announce domestic comp for remainder of Super Rugby season

By my reckoning:-
Brums have 4 local derbies left;
Rebels have five;
Tahs have six;
Reds have six;
Sunwolves have five.
Maybe a plan for the next 4 weeks could be worked out (by a better mathematician than me)

Brumbies hopeful of continuing Super surge despite corona threat

Great news! You can see that Slips is clearly enjoying his time there, and giving back
Even though I now live in Brisbane I have a very soft spot for Canberra, where I lived for 16 years, and I am a rusted on Brumbies fan, and always will be. Every interstate player comes to Canberra for a chance and the tight knit community takes them in.
When the Brumbies first got going, all of those interstaters lived in one apartment block in Manuka, the Oakton Apartments, known affectionately as “Melrose Place” and trained nearby at a suburban ground in Griffith that was open to anyone. Their headquarters was the old Easts clubhouse next door, and they were frequently seen around the coffee shops of Manuka, and accessible to the public. They were very quickly adopted by the locals and the wider community, so much so that they often got the prime “real estate” on the back page of the Canberra Times and forced the Raiders off it, but there is no less love for the Raiders because in a ‘one team’ town for both codes, most people supported both.
The private schools in Canberra play in the Saturday club comp (which means that the clubs lose them as juniors, so no Rugby on Sundays, which is when the Junior RL is played, thus, a good many of the kids play both codes on a weekend.
The Brumbies squad players not picked in the match day 23 are all required to play for their local clubs, which is a move that Jake White instituted so the local John I Dent Shield is laced with Brumbies and Academy players.
The Brumbies administer the whole of southern NSW from just south of Nowra all the way to the border – an area known as Southern Inland, and the Monaro region, which also means that, in the juniors there are great trips to Jindabyne to play the Bushpigs, Broulee (the Dolphins), Bungendore (“the Mudchooks”), Cooma, Goulburn and Yass (with the obligatory stop off at the wineries on the way home).
Great days and a great Rugby town – can fully understand James’ enthusiasm.

Slipper gets two-year extension with Brumbies and Rugby Australia

I share your sentiments – punish the player but not the team, or the crowd, who pay good money to come and watch – I wrote about it here 2 years ago and I still think my ideas are relevant –

How to fix another red card ruining rugby

Hooper has been the best in his position so far this year and should be about the only Tah picked. As far as kickers go, you would have to include Hodge in the squad

Half a dozen rounds in, here are six Super Rugby takeaways for Dave Rennie and the Wallabies

I think Toomua is improving every game, and will be first pick.

Half a dozen rounds in, here are six Super Rugby takeaways for Dave Rennie and the Wallabies

Rangi is going well enough to be included at No 2 – Neville is playing better than anyone expected and has seamlessly replaced Arnold. Hard to leave out Samu. Is JP Smith eligible?

Half a dozen rounds in, here are six Super Rugby takeaways for Dave Rennie and the Wallabies

A good round up.
As far as a Wallabies forwards coach goes, you could do a lot worse than Laurie Fisher, who, I suspect is the real forwards coach at the Brumbies. Surprising that his name is not in the mix.

Half a dozen rounds in, here are six Super Rugby takeaways for Dave Rennie and the Wallabies

Leaving aside any questions about which way his swing, I think he was just trying to milk a red card. Too bad for him that the camera got him, a slightly different angle and he was home free!
Wynn Jones was probably too surprised to overreact!

Marler cited for squirrel grip on Jones

An absolute travesty last year and just reinforced why Cheika had to go – imagine if he was coaching this year with all the new talent – would they get a run?

Anyway, as they say – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Tommy only has Dane Haylett-Petty as his most serious challenger and even though I am a one-eyed rusted on Brumby fan, you cannot deny that DHP has probably shaded Tom in the last couple of weeks.

What will be telling is how Noah Lolesio organises his backline and how Tom’s new found freedom to “pop up” (which I think was always there) will work.

Tom Banks busting his way into Wallaby gold

I put a lot of it down to the Pulver – Cheika era – Rugby was flapping in the breeze, Cronyism was rife in selections and fringe players looked overseas to better their chances- for example, it’s interesting that you have Ben Meehan in the starting side for London Irish with Nick Phipps coming off the bench), and who is Dave Porecki?
In literally one sentence on one day a couple of weeks ago, Mr Rennie made it clear that there would be no favourites – we’ll have to wait and see how that plays out, but it must have given every Super Rugby player hope.

That, couple with teh exodus of many senior players, being replaced by the incoming mob of Under 20’s and the NRC unearthing talent, I think things are on the up, personally

The Wrap: Lazy thinking reinforces rugby’s negative narrative

Great article, Nick – someone raised the question “is he too small?” – I don’t think size matters, but he, like many good number 10’s has a low to ground, forward leaning running style and is reminiscent of Larkham and Lynagh in that. Coupled with being quick off the mark, he has that ability to slide through and then power out of a hole, and free his hands.

I think that the other aspect of the Brumbies game was that when they did kick, it was into the grandstand, thus depriving the Chiefs of the ability to counter with broken field running.

Finally, their ball handling at pace and preparation for contact show just how well they are coached.

Can Noah Lolesio be Australia’s triple threat at No.10?

It seems to me that she has manouevred them into a situation where they now have to win a competitive tender – all this stuff about free-to-air, national club competition, televising the Shute Shield seems mere puffery.

They have taken onboard everything the Roarers, and we mere mortals, have been ranting about the last year or so, and are using it to guage popular opinion. Doesn’t mean any of it will be implemented and at the end of it all, they will march to the tune of the successful bidder.

It seems to me that the only way a National Club competition could work would be as a Challenge Cup with, say, two or three clubs from Sydney, two from ACT, Melbourne and Perth and, say, one from each of Darwin or Townsville – with no guarantees – in other words, the top 3 or 2 or 1 in that city, in that year. They have a champions league in Europe but there they can fill stadiums. If you are not one of the fans or the tribe of participating clubs, you probably don’t watch it.

Unless you do it that way, all that happens is that some clubs become strong and rich, at the expense of the others, who go into decline.

Personally, I think that the answer is to expand the NRC, and with Free to Air programming it will eventually get traction, and let players move around from state to state. 12 teams – 3 teams Qld, 3 from NSW, 1 from ACT, 2 from Vic, 2 from WA. 1 from NT – play 6 rounds in 2 conferences with a finals series.
I don’t understand why tinkering with a newish competition is wise – can’t we just let it evolve into something meaningful?

RA boss expects Fox Sports broadcast bid

You’re right about one thing, Carlos – you are definitely a pessimist.

Wrapping up Round 1 of Major League Rugby

Facebook Live – @USMLR20 – they stream all games for the International community- simples!

Wrapping up Round 1 of Major League Rugby

If Global Rapid Rugby works, then you may also have teams or team from China/ Hong Kong/ Malaysia – another sleeping giant. If you have ever been to Northern China, including Beijing, you see a lot of quite tall people – they are the Mongolians, who are much taller that “mainland” Chinese, and the Chinese Army has adopted Rugby using a lot of these guys – they just need exposure to better competition – as I said, another sleeping giant – I may do an article on it.

Six talking points from Super Rugby Round 2

Probably trying too hard to help his team, and as a full back, watching crap go on in front of you, there may be a tendency to do miracle stuff.

Wouldn’t really know – I was always a forward – played one game at full back in the under 13’s – not one of my best days out. Never really looked around, as I was usually gasping.

Six talking points from Super Rugby Round 2

Like I said, I am a fan of Tom Banks, and would love to push him to the front, but I think DHP’s sins can be forgiven, especially this early in the piece – he has a Larkham-like ability to glide through holes and break the first couple of tackles and is great under the high ball. Certainly either Banks or DHP overshadowed Beale and Hegarty, though Hegarty is an honest toiler who doesn’t do much wrong.

Six talking points from Super Rugby Round 2

Not at the moment, but can I recommend a US website,, (who I hope to write some articles for) and they are right across Nth American Rugby.

US Major League Rugby enters its third season

My Wallabies team of the week (picked purely on form, not reputation)
A squad of 23 with 7 emergencies, as it is only still early.
A couple of observations.
As much as I am an unabashed fan of Tom Banks, Dane Haylett-Petty outplayed him in all departments.
Neither JOC at 10 or Jordan Petaia at 13 did enough to stand out, whereas Lolesio did and he is clearly a special.
I picked Cadeyrn Neville – in the trials he stood up and deserved his spot in the XV – he has a very high work rate. He is keeping Enever oot of the starting XV, and Swain will have to fight for his spot in my view
Liam Wright went well, but was shaded by Hooper, in my view.
Joe Powell was everywhere and his passing game is crisp.
Hard to choose between Hunt and Simone, but if Simone keeps playing as strongly as he did, he will jump to the front.
Tom Wright had a great game and edged Marika out of contention
1. Sio
2. Faingaa
3. Ala’atoa
4. Rodda
5. Salakaia-Loto
6. Valetini
7. Hooper
8. Samu
9. Powell
10. Lolesio
11. Nawaqanitawase (if fit) – otherwise, Speight or Koroibete
12. Hunt
13. Kuridrani
14. Wright
15 Haylett Petty

16. Slipper
17. Tupou
18. Neville
19. Wright (Liam)
20. Naisarani
21. McDermott
22. Toomua
23. Koroibete

Emergencies: (if picking horses for courses):-
24. Paenga Amosa
25. Simmons
26. Cottrell
27. Simone
28. Petaia
29. Banks
30. Beale

Six talking points from Super Rugby Round 2

I enjoyed your article, but your theme seemed to be around uncertainty, and I certainly don’t disagree with that. Two major events occurred in the last 25 years, one being the rise of professionalism and the other being the rise of the internet. Yes, the internet. I say that because back in the 70’s we developed a fairly cohesive coaching plan – a top down approach – the internet suddenly opened up a plethora of coaching ideas, programs, styles, courses, theories, etc and it was suddenly hard to stay on message. Correct me if you think I am wrong, but go to my website and under my “resources” tab you will find hundreds of websites with hundreds of theories (you’ll have to search for it).
The other elephant in the room, professionalism meant that the people who might not otherwise made it in the amateur era, were now getting scholarships to private schools, contracts and pathways that were not available to them, while the traditional achievers, those blokes who were going to be high achievers outside of Rugby could not, or did not compete, as they genuinely needed to get on with their careers, whether they were doctors, lawyers, tradies, public servants and so forth who might have otherwise gone on with it for a few more years.
I have a personl belief that there has been a bit of a brain drain over the last 25 years. Argue if you want, I don’t care.
That, coupled with the randomness of coaching programs and the proliferation of theory, has probably hurt us.
For example, I don’t believe that there are as many blokes who can think their way through a game, in this decade, compared with 2 decades ago.
However, the recent success of the Under 19 and Under 20 programs, seems to indicate that people are finally getting it right and maybe some of those values are back. The current crop of last year’s Under 20’s are showing us that they are thinkers, are well schooled and are prepared to play without fear or nerves.
Maybe we are getting back on track after all – for example, the refusal to allow those Under 20’s to play for their Super Rugby provinces, last year in favour of staying in camp, was not only brave, but smart and sent the right message.
I for one, am very inspired by that and very optimistic for this season and beyond. We have started then new RWC cycle well, and it seems like there are good people on the ground.

The more things change in rugby, the more they stay the same

It is a simple equation in my view. You start with a spreadsheet with 17 columns, one for each position and one for utility back and utility forward. The guys in those 2 columns are also entitled to be named in their main position.
You select your best 17 along row 1, then the next best in row 2 and so on until you have every Super Rugby squad member listed.
You move playes up and down the columns based purely on performance, and when it comes time to pick your first squad you take row one and 7 from row 2.

Rennie's Wallabies need success from Australia's Super Rugby teams

Thanks for your comprehensive article and pretty well spot on – as I have separately reported, the teams, themselves, have all turned out looking good, but only one trial against a Kiwi side, Tahs v Highlanders, but the other trials all produced reasonable results and we have had a good look at all the teams.
I do take issue with your notion that Bridget Mackenzie be involved as chair, and I do think that she is potentially “on the nose”. Perhaps that was sarcasm on your part? How refreshing to see the talent from last years crop of u20’s – fresh news – out with the old and in with the new – plus a national coach that has made it clear that he won’t play favourites – everyones position is on the line.
Club comps are strong, it’s all looking up.

The Wrap: Where did rugby’s offseason go?