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The Roar

Luke Ringland

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Joined November 2012

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Ireland and Wales do. In other words countries of compatible size in terms of world class players to pick from. The challenge for the ABs will be how to find the best 15 from their embarressment of riches. In their four year cycle they’ll drop a game whilst those combinations become embedded, but they’ll be the first to admit they’ve dropped some critical games because of combinations not firing. Their best era by far was when they basically kept their backrow, second row and halves intact for years. Can Australia hope to do that? To have that kind of player retention.

After the 2015 world cup the Tahs spine Wallabies lost some crucial players. But more than that, I would say you can’t unserestimate the impact of players like Potgeiter on the success of the 2014 team. That was on the back of two years of consistent selections.

The Wallabies team I'd pick

But I would counter this by saying we don’t necessarily want to be trying to play this game. See some of Nicolas Bishop’s analysis of how the new interpretations in Europe are not at all leading to call contenders playing a similar style. Personally, I think we need a 9 who can kick well to have a chance.

The Wallabies team I'd pick

That’s it for me. He is scrumming as well or better than any loosehead in Australia right now. I didn’t consider the question of switching AAA back.

The Wallabies team I'd pick

They have all signed, so from this I’m assuming all are available. Does not mean they’ll be picked, or that there aren’t other logistical reasons that’ll get in the way.

The Wallabies team I'd pick

The White, JOC, Toomua combo in Bledisloe 1 looked very good, released the other backs well I thought.

The Wallabies team I'd pick

I see the spread across the franchises as a weakness, unfortunately.

I’ve listened to Ben Darwin’s schtick a couple of times now and I’m on board. Eddie Jones has made similar comments. It is a massive weakness of the Wallabies that we can’t pick established “spines” from existing cohesive SR teams to underpin the test team. But I really can’t see many extra opportunities to do so.

The Wallabies team I'd pick

If BPA is available, I’d have no problem with the selection. My issue with him is the line-out throwing. Is not the coolest cat in the shed when his jumpers are under pressure. Again, not sure there is anyone better though so…

The Wallabies team I'd pick

Fair re: Rodda. Rennie will have been watching him, though, so who knows. I get frustrated watching LSL, in big games he seems to cough up the pill, or is that my imagination. I like Hosea, and the other young lock/blindside from the Rebels as well.

The Wallabies team I'd pick

Yeah, exactly, something like this. I’m open to a rest of Aus third rep team if a viable model could be established. But to me, one of the main points of this between NRC and Wallabies tier is to try and fill stadiums, and basically be a cash cow, and show piece for the game.

A strengths-based plan for rugby in Australia

Based on, or built upon?

But this is perhaps where we differ. I see rugby as more analogous to the regional AFL teams like the Crows and the Eagles. These are built ON the grassroots strength of the game in those cities, but there was recognition of the value of coming together for a national comp, which required some consolidation.

A strengths-based plan for rugby in Australia

Please help me understand what elitism are you talking about.

A strengths-based plan for rugby in Australia

Not sure I understand what you mean. I’m talking about leaning into the national footprint of the game by making the NRC the heart of rugby in this country. What we need is for the Shute Shield and it’s equivalent in Brisbane to really get behind it instead of clinging to the past. So I think we agree…

A strengths-based plan for rugby in Australia

“Melbourne people don’t care about global”.
Disagree. They care a lot. They LOVE their AFL, but I detect a nagging insecurity, or perhaps just a feeling of lack, that AFL is not an international game. They generally jump all over international sporting fixtures. There is also the fact Melbourne is full of ex-pats from rugby countries. League doesn’t scratch that itch.
Why do I think League in Melbourne has probably hit it’s high watermark (this of course does not mean it will fall off a cliff into the abyss)? Simple really. How can they possibly top the current era of success? They love winning, doesn’t, and so they love the Storm. Can they maintain this run? Doubtful.
I just had a little google. Couldn’t find much accept that there are apparently 26 union clubs in Victoria versus 13 league clubs.
Finally, when I lived in Melbourne, I encountered open hostility from locals towards rugby league, but not to rugby. Anecdotal of course, but still

A strengths-based plan for rugby in Australia

On the face you make a strong argument. But I still see rugby having more potential for the reasons I outlined. Rugby is global, and so is Melbourne.

Firstly, the Storm have been extremely successful, and this helps a lot. They have had the full and extensive market machine of the NRL behind them, had enormous success and had talismatic stars. The Rebels haven’t come close to that. If they had, you never know…

Secondly, and most importantly, I’d be interested to see player numbers. There’s a thriving club rugby seen in Melbourne. League, I just don’t see the potential. I’d say it’s more or less highest watermark now. Decline is probably coming.

A strengths-based plan for rugby in Australia

I agree with you about the main thing being public schools.

A strengths-based plan for rugby in Australia

Thanks for your thoughts mate, very interesting and informative.

A strengths-based plan for rugby in Australia

They won’t be super level. They’ll be representative teams probably playing no more than half a dozen games a year, where international based players will be expected to show for. There’ll be no Waratahs/reds development squads, no academies, no preseason. Under this plan that’d all be done at NRC level. The point that this is where the heart of rugby development needs to be in Australia, precisely because BECAUSE rugby is not just Queensland and NSW. But, they are, whether you want to admit it or not, L much much bigger markets, and so they need rep teams to take advantage of this.

A strengths-based plan for rugby in Australia

In hindsight it’s interesting to me that I didn’t include the private schools as a strength. Their dominance is such a feature of the rugby environment you’d think obviously we need to lean into that. So what does that look like? Twist the arm of the GPS and CAS to play more games against public schools? I’m not sure. But the point of a strengths based analysis is you focus on making the most of what you have.

A strengths-based plan for rugby in Australia

I agree.
The Brumbies pains me, because in their time and place they have been EXTREMELY valuable to Rugby in Australia. And I don’t mean to minimise that. But a national competition is the right place for the organics, for want of a better word, of that market and player base. Raiders fans were bummed they didn’t win the NRL, rather than the absence of an ACT going toe to toe with the Blues and Maroons. Melbourne fans aren’t yelling out for a VIC. They have their teams in the national competition. I believe Rugby is stronger than league in Melbourne in particular, and certainly Perth, so who knows what a decade of a successful NRC could harbring.

A strengths-based plan for rugby in Australia

The Brumbies game was by far the midst frustrating. It reminded me so much of many recent Wallabies performances against the ABs. Critical errors and turnovers at basically the most inopportune moment possible. The best example was 22-8 Canes and the Bunnies have just defended really well, won a scrum and then a scrum penalty. Simone fails to find touch. As with such moments against the ABs, I just KNEW there was absolutely no chance they were going to win. The Hurricanes are just too good for that.

It was dissapointing, but also enlightening as far as player prospects, to see the Brumbies so tactically exposed in the kicking duel. Banks in particular looked flustered and as though he lacked the instincts to know when to kick and when to run. The result was a hodgepodge that ultimately resulted in his side losing ground or turning it over. I for one am hoping that we get to see some of Beale at 15 for the Tahs this year, otherwise it is pretty clear that DHP is the most reliable 15 in Australian Rugby.

A note on Quade. He’s still not doing it for me. Some beautiful touches, but that’s what you expect from him. I want to see him string some games together where I don’t find myself saying “absolutely dumb moment to try that”. It wasn’t that he pushed some passes that didn’t come off, it’s that he did in at times when the opposition was on the the ropes and composure and execution of basics was needed. IMO the risky stuff needs to be tried when the game needs breaking open, not when a break has been made and they’re in the opposition 22. It strikes me as a lack of composure that will certainly loose big matches. It is early, but to me, the signs are not good. That Rebels team should have won that game by much more.

The 2019 challenge: Creating front-foot ball when the back foot isn’t moving

I’ve heard the “Beale is no good under the high ball” narrative a lot, and I just don’t see it. He’s not the best around, but I would not say he is weak. Surely he wouldn’t have been considered one of the best in the English Premiership playing 15 if that were so? Cold, wet, lots of kicking…
And since he came back from England he’s been playing mostly 12, and even some 10 for good measure. I personally think he is Australia’s best broken field playmaker, and the thought of him operating in the backfield with weapons like Folau and Banks is mouth watering. His kicking game is good enough, too.
Anyway, time will tell. I should think Gibson’s hand will be forced in terms of putting Hunt at 12 for the Tahs, and moving Beale to the back.
Anyway, my point is that this article is a veiled long rant about Foley, which is based on long running frustrations about his Wallaby form. It’s a dog whistle for those on here who highly critical of the selections of Hannigan and Phipps, the latter of whom hasn’t played yet!
Just a poorly timed and toned article all around.

The Wallabies need to drop some of their Waratahs stalwarts

There is a lot of hot air going on. Cheika clearly likes both Kerevi and Petaia, and that was before their performance against the Chiefs this week. Rodda was one of the best for the Reds pack and Cheika likes him too. If I’m not mistaken Steward has trained with the Wallabies and has clearly been earmarked for higher duties in the not too distant future.

His time at number 12 could be up, and not before time, but I don’t hear anyone really calling for Beale to be out of the Wallaby 23. Beale the super sub is a minimum, given his PROVEN game breaking abilities. The speed of Banks on weekend was really very impressive. Personally, I don’t see any problem in picking him in a starting back three unit for the Wallabies that also includes Beale.

So really, this is all about Foley. And fair enough. But hopefully the Wallaby 10 will be picked on Foley’s form over a season, particularly in big games, and who of the others has done enough to usurp him. Time will tell.

The Wallabies need to drop some of their Waratahs stalwarts

Ha ha, double desperation maybe.

Handscomb and the spotlight on being different

There have certainly been batsman in the past with deceptive awkwardness in one area of their game, who didn’t actually get out that way much. A good example of that would be Steve Waugh. Rarely ever played a pull or hook shot and generally looked terrible against the rising ball into the rib cage. But yet, it wasn’t actually a weakness, it just looked bad. Bowlers bowled short at hime in lieu of focusing on what was his actual weakness, which was the big waft outside the off stump. The approach of the then great West Indies fast bowlers is the prime example.
Contrast this with Michael Bevan. Many would say that he was harshly dealt with at test level, and I would agree. But it must be said, he looked awkward against the short ball AND he got out to it a lot. The perception was he had been found out, and this was fatal flaw he would never overcome. It didn’t help that there was a LOT of quality Australian batsman in that era.
And so to Handscomb. He looks awkward against the in swinging full ball AND he gets out to it. He makes it way too easy for top class bowlers to have a plan against him. As Warnie likes to say, having a plan is one of the most important things for a bowler, and you would extrapolate from this that one of the most important things for a batsman to is a way to either nullify a bowler’s plan, or make him scratch his head about what the plan should be. At the moment, Handscomb is seemingly powerless to do either.
So for me, the writing is on the wall for him unless he is able to somehow turn what will forever be the plan of bowlers against him into a liability. If he can work out how to nullify this plan, bowlers will forever be wasting their time bowling there instead of staying in the corridor, which as many on here have pointed out, is essentially the ultimate “weakness” of all batsman.

Handscomb and the spotlight on being different

I don’t think the problem is “boundaries and power” as a focus per se. Rather, I think it’s about the hot blooded way in which we applied ourselves them.

Our batsman seem to have two speeds. Block and tonk. Too much blocking ends up leading to a rash shot.

To help myself feel better after the match I was watching some YouTube clips of Ricky Ponting in his prime. The clips were were of course highlights, but boundary after beautifully hit boundary was on show. On one occasion something was very telling when he brought up his 50: it had come off about 80 balls. This means that there must have been a lot of blocking and leaving, and powerful, aggressive batting.

What is key is that the power and aggression was controlled, and to a degree, cold blooded. He waited for the right balls, and then wasn’t afraid to absolutely punish them. Too many times in this test I saw our batsman play timidly to balls that were much worse than the ball they ended up getting out to playing a rash stroke.

Obviously the batsman in test history who can command that cold-blooded aggression with Ricky Ponting at his best aplomb are few and far between. But my amateur psychologist instinct tells me that it is has to do with the fear of getting dropped. Too many of our guys are playing for their spots at the same time. They ignore opportunities to get aggressive, but eventually they can’t help themselves.

The comparison with the tail is stark (ha ha!). This was what decent batsman could do to the Indian attack (and I will grant you they were more tired bowling to our tail than at the beginning of each innings) when they didn’t fear getting out. If our top order guys had given themselves this freedom, sure, some would have got out, but I think we win this test. 30 runs in controlled aggressive boundaries would have been easily had.

In the end, it’s the hope that kills you…

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