The Roar
The Roar

Istanbul Wingman

Roar Guru

Joined February 2019







Former New Zealand journalist teaching in Istanbul. Fave teams - Canes and Jags. Can be found chatting live about rugby here in my free time:



Awards of the Decade

Just to get the ball rolling. Feel free to add your own choices and categories.

Event of the Decade: Olympics 7s. Fiji’s emphatic win the stuff of fairy-tales

Honorable mention: 2019 RWC, despite the typhoons, produced a stunning final, Japan’s own success and Uruguay’s surprise win over Fiji.

Disappointment: African Gold Cup, lopsided results, acrimony between teams, administrative manipulation leading to eventual collapse

Match of the Decade: 2019 World Cup final, had it all, minor upset in terms of result, non-white captain and try-scorers – Boks’ first ever tries in a final.

Honorable mention: Japan’s win over Boks at 2015 RWC might just have been the biggest upset ever.

Disappointment: More than one of the play-off games at the 2011 RWC spring to mind, but I’ll go with the NZ vs Lions finale in 2017 when a dodgy call at the end denied the latter.

1st tier Team of the Decade: New Zealand, 2/3 RWCs, overwhelming domination of the rankings, multiple RC titles, etc, etc.

Honorable mentions – SAfrica – 2019 RWC, Argentina – 2nd RWC semi-final appearance (2015)

Disappointment – Italy, successive spoons in the 6 Nations, no wins in sight and still can’t make the RWC quarters.

2nd tier Team of the Decade: Japan, has beaten SA, Ireland and Scotland at the last 2 RWCs, as well as Samoa (twice), and reached the quarterfinals this year.

Honorable mentions: US – 2017/2018 ARC champs, win over Scotland. Fiji beat France in Paris, among other achievements

Disappointment – Romania/Canada. Oaks disqualified from 2019 World Cup and also managed to lose to Germany. Canada hasn’t made any impression for a long while and had to qualify for this year’s World Cup through the repechages.

3rd tier Team of the Decade: Brazil, 2018 South American champions, wins over USA, Canada and Argentina A to their credit

Honorable mention – Algeria. Have pretty much come from nowhere to reach the top division in African rugby.

Disappointment – Kenya, cannon-fodder for Canada, Germany & Hong Kong at the World Cup repechages, and losing at home to other 3rd tier teams they used to beat not so long ago.

Exciting Development of the Decade: MLR really taking off, expanding nicely, producing great play-offs and attracting lots of foreign talent

Honorable mention – GRR: Off the ground with its pilot series, promises to take pro rugby into new frontier

Disappointment – Super 18: A convoluted format with a couple of inept teams, ridiculous travel requirements for some and big thumbs down from the fans

Collective failure of the Six Nations

That’s true, I meant to say

Martin: Folau settlement like a Christmas present

That’s try, Gatesy. Last is he’s approached the Bulls in SA. Hopefully they’ll have enough spine to say no.

Martin: Folau settlement like a Christmas present

If the rumors are true about the big payout to Foolau, heads should roll at ARU. It’s not only a waste of money, it sends out completely the wrong message.

Martin: Folau settlement like a Christmas present

45,000 plus on hand to see Madagascar blitz Nigeria 63-3 in Antanarivo today. Yesterday Senegal hammered Mauritius by a similar score, 63-0 in Dakar. The crowd there looked like a few hundred.

Rugby Australia goes it alone

Andrew Mehrtens quoted in ESPN News this morning as saying Australia & NZ should break away from SA and Argentina and look to Asia. I agree, but don’t forget the Pacific Islands.

Rugby is facing a civil war unless Cameron Clyne goes now

Crusaders should be re-branded the Canterbury Rainbows. Uenuku, Maori God of Rainbows, was a Canterburian (true).

Izzy would love it 😂

The biggest talking point for each NZ Super Rugby franchise in 2020

Ivory Coast 60 Rwanda 3, Spain 29 Hong Kong 7, Germany 7 Holland 37, Swiss 20 Poles 23, Cyprus 18 Malta 16

How the Germans have fallen since beating Romania a couple of years back and making the World Cup qualifying repechages

Here’s a great idea: Let’s stop playing the All Blacks

Ghana 36 Botswana 25. Ivory Coast vs Rwana kicks off in an hour-and-a-half, live on Rugby Africa’s Facebook page.

In 7s, Afghanistan thrashed Taiwan this morning, 35-12 in the Asian Olympic qualifiers 😱

Here’s a great idea: Let’s stop playing the All Blacks

In saying that, the tests have become a bit excessive. Once a year ought to be enough. Twice max.

Here’s a great idea: Let’s stop playing the All Blacks

Aussies got strong by playing the ABs more regularly as flights became the popular mode of travel and live TV brought more revenue. They had a lean patch in the 60s and 70s, however. NZ dubbed them the Woeful Wallabies and considered axing them from the agenda. What happened? I don’t know. But barely a few years later the Wallabies were flogging the All Blacks in their own back yard. They remained on more or less equal footing through the 1980s, then the Wallabies won 2 World Cups in the 90s and KOed the All Blacks to reach the final again in 2003. Moral of the story, don’t avoid the All Blacks and things will right themselves sooner or later.

Here’s a great idea: Let’s stop playing the All Blacks

18th of July 2020 Georgia are off to South Africa to play a test.

That certainly is great news! Begs the question, of course, why South Africa don’t play regular tests with neighbors Namibia. They only beat them 57-3 at the World Cup. Not exactly a humiliation given they themselves once lost to New Zealand 57-0. In fact, make it an annual pre-season game and play it in Windhoek. Great way to blow out the cobwebs.

It also begs the question why France and England can’t get across to play a test in Tbilisi. They’d be sure to pack the stadium. Every tier 1 team should be ogliged to include at least one fixture against a tier 2 or 3 team on their annual schedules. For the meantime the gauntlet has been thrown down to NZ, Austrlia, England, France & co.

From what I can see this will be SA’s only test against a non-tier 1 side since the 2015 World Cup, apart from this year’s RWC & warm-up against Japan. Outside of this years RWC, NZ, Australia, England & France have only played three second tier teams each since the 2015 RWC, all involving Japan and the Pacific Islands. France, of course, lost to Fiji and drew with Japan; both games at home!

So this will be the first time one of the Big 5 plays a non-first tier team outside of Japan and the Islands in recent years. It’s a mammoth task for Georgia, travelling to SA to take on the recently crowned World Champions, but a great opportunity to test themselves against the best, which is the only way they’re going to improve.

A disturbance in the Force: China set to shake up world rugby

There’s never been a PI team in Super Rugby. There were individual island teams in the South Pacific Series and Super 10 competitions which were the precursors to Super Rugby. The only combined PI team to speak of played a few tests a few decades back and frankly didn’t prove any more successful than the individual islands would have been. So as a national team, the idea sucked. As a club or Super Rugby franchise, it could work but it’s a question of funding. Also, will Super Rugby want to expand again in the foreseeable future after its unsuccessful attempt at Super 18? I’m not sure it’s the answer. Far simpler to just open up the eligibility laws and let them play for existing Super Rugby teams while also remaining eligible for their home nations. This is how African football is prospering through its close allegiance with Europe.

When will Japan join the Rugby Championship?

FT – Brazil 22-47 Barbarians.

Tries:Daniel Lima, Luiz Vieira and Felipe Cunha
Conv: Reeves (2)
Pen: Reeves (1)

Tries: Havili (2), Cottrell (2), Ma’afu, Ezcurra e Vermaak
Convs: Havili (3), Iglesias (2) e Best (1)

Brasil: 15 Daniel Sancery, 14 Lorenzo Massari, 13 Felipe Sancery (c), 12 Moisés Duque, 11 Daniel “Maranhão” Lima, 10 Josh Reeves, 9 Lucas “Tanque” Duque, 8 André “Buda” Arruda, 7 Arthur Bergo, 6 Cléber “Gelado” Dias, 5 Luiz “Monstro” Vieira, 4 Matteo Dell’Acqua, 3 Joel Ramirez, 2 Wilton “Nelson” Rebolo, 1 Lucas Abud;

Suplentes: 16 Yan Rosetti, 17 Matheus “Blade” Rocha, 18 Leonel Moreno, 19 Gabriel Paganini, 20 Matheus Cláudio, 21 Devon Muller, 22 Felipe Cunha, 23 Lucas “Zé” Tranquez;

Barbarians: 15 David Havili (Nova Zelândia), 14 Bautista Ezcurra (Argentina), 13 Lukhanyo Am (África do Sul), 12 Billy Meakes (Austrália*), 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Santiago Iglesias (Argentina), 9 Jano Vermaak (África do Sul), 8 Josh Strauss (Escócia), 7 Pete Samu (Austrália), 6 Angus Cottrell (Austrália*), 5 Luke Jones (Austrália), 4 Tyler Ardron (c) (Canadá), 3 Hencus Van Wyk (África do Sul*), 2 Andrew Makalio (Nova Zelândia*), Campese Ma’afu (Fiji);

Suplentes: 16 Tendai Mtawarira (África do Sul), 17 Rory Best (Irlanda), 18 Wiehahn Herbst (África do Sul*), 19 Ben Landry (Estados Unidos), 20 Marco van Staden (África do Sul), 21 Joe Powell (Austrália), 22 Mathieu Bastareaud (França), 23 Dillyn Leyds (África do Sul);

A disturbance in the Force: China set to shake up world rugby

Apparently 10s is a thing in Hawaii. Samoa’s Eels defeated Wellington’s Petone in the final of an international tournament last weekend.

A disturbance in the Force: China set to shake up world rugby

Looks like World Rugby staff read the Roar. This came up just hours after my post 😁

The Dave Rennie casebook: Can a Kiwi coach the Wallabies again?

You’d have more insight than me, Nick, but my hunch is Rennie will bring a typical uncompromising Kiwi style of play to the Wallabies. It’s really tough to beat the All Blacks at their own game, however. That requires a little more lateral thinking. & one of the features of MacQueen’s reign, as I recall, was that the Wallabies were able to play a highly-structured game and execute it to perfection.

The Dave Rennie casebook: Can a Kiwi coach the Wallabies again?

No disrespect to Rennie, but I think Schmidt is a little more astute on the technical side and would bring out the best in the Wallabies. His coaching style reminds me a little of McQueen, in fact.

The Dave Rennie casebook: Can a Kiwi coach the Wallabies again?

Any links to extended highlights or full match reply of the World Cup final? I’ve still only seen the 4-minute version. 😢

The Dave Rennie casebook: Can a Kiwi coach the Wallabies again?

Joe Schmidt would be much more Aussie’s style.

The Dave Rennie casebook: Can a Kiwi coach the Wallabies again?

Unlimited foreign imports across the board is the answer. Look how it’s revolutionized football! 👍 👍 👍

When will Japan join the Rugby Championship?

Yeah, I wrote an article about that (which you can find by double clicking on my name). It was NZ’s fault, mainly. After finishing 4th in 99 they refused to go through the qualifying process – then for all but the top 3 finishers in the tournament (not the groups!) – and forced through changes. Absolute disgrace 😡

When will Japan join the Rugby Championship?

I’ve also suggested a pre-season 6 Nations in the past, involving NZ, Aussie, Japan and the Islands in two groups of three. Two games each at a single venue, leading to a final, 3rd and 5th place games. Done and dusted inside 2 weeks. Japan and the islands get the big tests they want. NZ & Aussie would be seeded each year, probably to meet in the final, thus no need for the 3rd Bledisloe test that usually follows the Tri Nations. & no need for Japan to make marathon flights to Buenos Aires and Jo’burg. Everyone’s a winner. 😁 👍

When will Japan join the Rugby Championship?

Inter-continental tournaments involving elite nations is a myopic approach that only strengthens a select few teams and does nothing to encourage the development of the game elsewhere; to the contrary, in fact. & this is why, aside from Europe, we still only have one of two world class teams on every continent. If you want to develop rugby as an international game you do it on a region by region basis, and strengthen those competitions to the point there are multiple world class teams on every continent.

When will Japan join the Rugby Championship?

Sorry, the second Kirwan was supposed to be Kirk

The biggest talking point for each NZ Super Rugby franchise in 2020