The Roar
The Roar

Oliver Matthews

Roar Guru

Joined September 2013







Olly is one half of the sports podcast team from "All About The Balls" - . He loves to chat about all sorts of sport including rugby, league, AFL, cricket and basically anything with a ball!



Totally agree with you about the importance of good quality kicking. I think one of the issues for Wales (and SA too to be fair) was that they lacked the balance. Wales kicked 36 times, ran for 182 metres and beat 11 defenders – England kicked basically the same amount (32 times), ran for over 400 metres and beat 20 defenders.

To be fair as well – kicking is just one part of it too. If it’s not combined with a good chase then there’s no pressure on the catcher or the defender coming out of their own 22.

Think Pollard actually put in a few nice territorial kicks but too often it felt like both sides seemed to kick because they had run out of ideas/patience with their ball in hand attack.

Seven talking points from Wales vs Springboks

Totally agree with you about the importance of good kicking. I think the issue for Wales (and SA to be fair) was that the balance wasn’t there. Wales kicked 36 times, ran 182 metres and beat 11 defenders – England kicked 32 times, ran over 400m and beat 20 defenders.

To be fair it’s not just the kicking either – the chasing has to be there as well to either compete for the catch or pressure the defender who is looking to kick.

There were some nice territory kicks from Pollard and de Allende put in a nice grubber once too but think Faf had an average day with the boot and SA will need better from him next weekend.

Seven talking points from Wales vs Springboks

Haha cheers Ralph!

Six talking points from Wallabies vs Wales

Realise it? Yes
Believe it makes a difference to Cheika’s decision? No

Seven talking points from Super Rugby Round 18

It’s an interesting one re Hooper isn’t it?

On the one hand he always puts in the effort but the Tahs rely upon him so SO much that I think it actually hinders them. Their back row needs more power and their pack as a whole needs to really become much scarier.

I also get frustrated with Hooper sometimes as I think he doesn’t focus enough on where the Tahs really need him. Thinking back to 2015 when the Wallabies were at their recent best – I don’t think Hooper has improved or developed as a player since then.

On that same theme – I don’t think many of the Wallabies have become better players since that 2015 World Cup Final.

That’s a very, very bad sign

Seven talking points from Super Rugby Round 11

The more I hear Folau talk about his faith there are a two thoughts in my mind:
– his faith seems to becoming more intense
– he seems to becoming more of a preacher than just a believer

Now that isn’t necessarily a problem but it also seems that he is focusing more and more on criticising those who do not agree with his faith. When faced with a choice on how to communicate his faith with the public he seems to choose inflammatory, disrespectful language instead of focusing on the love and compassion that he says his Lord is all about.

This trend – if it is actually a trend – seems to be pulling him further and further out of alignment with the high profile rugby world and so it’s hard to see how he could serve his God and yet still be a key part of the professional rugby world. They just don’t seem to fit hand in hand for him any longer.

If he is so sure and stringent about his faith that he calmly calls out homosexuals and drunks for being evil, then how much longer can he also take a lot of money from an organisation and sport that are comfortable with serving beer at many occasions, positively welcoming and encouraging people of all sexual groups to participate and who encourage PR and marketing activities that make players stand out as heroes/idols to the public.

This all seems very confused to me and I can’t really see how Izzy can not leave rugby in the next week or so.

Folau speaks for the first time since sacking announcement

It’s not his religious beliefs that RA have an issue with. It’s the way in which he has chosen to communicate those beliefs that they have an issue with.
They raised these concerns with him last year and again when they negotiated his recent contract.
They are not saying that he can’t be Christian, or be openly Christian or talk about his faith. They are saying that if he wants to be a prestigious and well played employee of RA then he needs to avoid certain language in the way in which he talks about his faith.
He willingly signed up to that agreement.
This isn’t about his religious views or freedom of speech. It’s about him choosing to break the terms of an employment contract that he willingly signed.

Israel Folau does not deserve the sack

There would have been a moment just before Izzy hit the POST button where he knew in his mind that what he was about to do was against the agreement (perhaps also the actual contract) that he had struck with his employer recently.

He would have known that there would be significant fall out. He would have known that he would offend people including potentially people in his own team. People he’s asking to trust him on the field.

He could have posted something else about God or his faith but instead he deliberately chose an image that he knew would be offensive to many and would stir up a whole hornet’s nest all over again at a time when his employers and team mates need some stability and focus on playing not PR disasters.

He didn’t talk about the compassion of his faith or the message of love that so many believe are at the core of Christianity. He chose to pick on specific groups of people and tell them that what they are doing is evil in his eyes and they would pay an eternal price if they didn’t ask for forgiveness.

He either didn’t realise what he was doing – not very likely especially considering last year’s storm – or he didn’t care that it would cause the fall out that it has.

Either way – is that really someone you want in your organisation and being regarded as an ambassador for your brand and culture?

Folau slammed over anti-gay comments

Sorry should have made it clearer. I mean he’s an obvious first choice as in no one would be surprised if Cheika picked him at 12 because he’s done it loads before even if KB’s form hasn’t deserved it.

I definitely don’t think he should be first choice and I really think that the Wallabies need to change their centre pairing.

Eight talking points from Super Rugby Round 6

Sadly I think it could be very likely but I certainly don’t think it’s a good idea – hence the reason I’m raising the talking point about other combos that don’t even include Beale in the centres. I think he’s kinda similar in a way to Damian McKenzie who can play #10 but is far better at #15. Beale can play #12 and the idea of two playmakers at fly half and inside centre has been obviously tempting to Cheika but I think Beale is going to be of more impact at full back compared to centre.

Eight talking points from Super Rugby Round 6

Tough for it to be click bait when there is no link to click but the point I’m trying to make is that one of the things the Rebels needed against the Lions was some wise heads to grab hold of the team, get back control of the game and take the momentum out of the Lions come back. Will Genia has shown that he has those sorts of smarts before but the Rebels can’t just rely upon him every time they get into a tricky situation.

Six talking points from Super Rugby Round 5

I think the relegation discussion is a good one to extend to the RC too. I would say that while the Argentinians have struggled to be a consistent threat in the RC, they have beaten both Australia and South Africa and in the 2015 World Cup they made the semi finals. They’ve also only been in the RC since 2012 where as Italy have been in the 6 Nations since 2000.

You could also see that at club level, the Jaguares are getting better – they made the Finals for the first time last year since joining in 2016.

I think a really interesting discussion though is this – if someone is going to be relegated then where do they get relegated to? Is there a well organised second tier tournament in both hemispheres that can cope with teams being relegated into them and promoted from them each year?

Seven talking points from Six Nations Round 4

It’s almost like a Moneyball situation – the traditional stat of Number of Missed Tackles by a player is commonly used to judge a player’s contribution to a match. But it’s potentially very misleading.

Although I imagine that it’s mainly a media stat that is discussed at the fan level a lot rather than used at the coach level. You’d assume/hope that the pro coaches are looking at far more nuanced stats and analysis.

That being said – it’s important that Farrell doesn’t repeat those two instances from the Spring Tour against the Boks and Wallabies where he could have given away points and gotten a yellow card. England can’t afford that in crunch matches.

Seven talking points from Six Nations Round 2

Yeah it’s a fair point – there’s been lots of debate around Owen Farrell over in UK and whether he’s a defensive liability cause he misses a large number of tackles. But if his role in the defensive system is to rush up and try and make the big hit/force play a specific way then you have to accept that he’s more likely to miss tackles.

Missing tackles is not the full story – we need to know what happens as a result of that missed tackle. Is there a genuine gain for the attacking side or not?

Seven talking points from Six Nations Round 2

I quite like the idea of this mainly because Italy frustrate me with how uncompetitive they are and how it feels as though other countries (Georgia for example) are being held back from their shot at the big time.

Of course though the reality is that something like this could have some unfortunate impacts:
– it would lead to a team from the current world top 10 having to play against teams a long way below them. That’s not going to make that relegated team any better at the international level and the likelihood is that the other teams from Group B would be absolutely spanked by the Group A relegated team. Not sure that’s useful for those Group B sides and their development either.
– say it’s Scotland who get relegated, or France – what is that going to do to their domestic game? Having their national side relegated is going to lead to a decline in interest in rugby in that country quite possibly which means clubs getting less support and the Union generating less revenue.
– if you only include 5 teams in the groups then the likelihood is that you end up with Italy being the team that bounces back and forth between Group A and Group B. So you’re not actually going to give any of the Group B sides a chance at the top league.

I think that there does need to be something done about Italy but the answer feels like it is more to do with investing in their domestic teams and how they perform than changing things at the international level.

Seven talking points from Six Nations Round 2

Appreciate the feedback and will double check my spelling in future. Simple slip up this time. One thing though – if you are going to criticise passionately someone’s ability to write then it’s best to check your own wording in that critique. “ABs captains name” should probably have at least one apostrophe in there surely?

In terms of the yellow card decision – I do think that it was an over reaction from the referee. I think it is perfectly justifiable decision from the ref and that it sits within an acceptable interpretation of the rules. However I also believe that rugby is a complex game where there is a great deal of nuance to the rules and the way they are policed.

I think that the ref could have pulled Latu and Hopper (jokes – Hooper) to one side and said if this sort of thing happens again with any of your players then they are off. The game wasn’t out of control at the time, a statement didn’t need to be made from the ref, it wasn’t a big dust up. It was a big of pushing and shoving. I’m not at all suggesting that we allow punching or kicking or chicken winging as has crept into NRL. But I think the referee didn’t need to send Latu to the bin for this. The range of incidents which result in yellow and red cards is just too broad in my opinion.

Fortunately in this instance the yellow card didn’t really impact the result of the game but, like I say, in my opinion, the push from Latu didn’t warrant a yellow.

To say that allowing Latu to go un yellow carded is the same as allowing players to kick and punch might perhaps be a bit of an exaggeration but hey, this site is all about opinions.

Different country, same result: All Blacks sweep Bledisloe Game 3

But isn’t that the point – the rules are not capable of covering all nuance of a situation and so we look to the refs to make a judgement. There are subtleties to many rugby situations where refs have to weigh up a range of factors and make a decision. I’m saying that in this situation I feel that it was the wrong call to yellow card a player for that situation. I’m not saying that the ref’s decision wasn’t justified by the rules but I’m saying that there is enough grey within those rules for the ref to make a more nuanced decision.

Seven talking points from Bledisloe Game 3

One of the biggest issues that has haunted the Wallabies and will continue to do so is their lack of quality and depth at #10.

Looking at the top fly halves around the world at the moment where would he be ranked?

Barrett is better. On club form Mo’unga is better. Sexton is better. McKenzie is more dangerous in attack but also more of a risk and the same could be said of Finn Russell.

We could go on through the rest of the international fly halves but what is clear that ever since the Final of RWC 2015, Foley has been in the second tier of those at the top of the game currently.

You can’t expect a team to win big games consistently with an average fly half. England made a surprisingly good go of it in 2016 and 2017 with George Ford but he’s been found out and the England side are struggling now.

Foley is not unleashing the potential in the Wallabies back line. He’s not got a strong kicking game out of hand. The fact that he’s also got a very hot and cold pack in front of him of course makes it harder but that’s not a good enough excuse.

What’s just as concerning is the fact that he’s under absolutely no pressure from any other fly half options!

Folau-less Wallabies will struggle to fire a shot at Eden Park

Full Match Report
The All Blacks have beaten the Wallabies by a good margin, 38-13, in the opening game of the Rugby Championship and take a 1-0 lead in the Bledisloe. It’s a cliche as old as sport itself but it really was a game of two halves – one the Wallabies will be encouraged by and one that they will pay specialists to help them forget.

That first half was both impressive and frustrating for fans as both sides put in great defensive performances but struggled to find rhythm with ball in hand.

As usual there will be discussion about how the All Blacks get the benefit of the doubt with the referees. Early in the match Waisake Naholo could easily have been shown a yellow for a tip tackle on Israel Folau but Jaco Peyper decided not to ask the TMO and felt that a penalty was enough.

The All Blacks were out of sorts in attack in the opening 38 minutes – they struggled to create opportunities which is partly down to a surprising number of handling errors from them but mainly down to a well organised and fast defence from the Wallabies. In the same fixture last year the Wallabies were doing realistic impressions of turnstiles as the All Blacks ran in try after try but today the Aussies were ruthless and organised.

In attack both sides struggled to find any rhythm and while each had periods where they put together long sequences of phases, neither really made much ground or punched damaging holes.

At the 38 minute mark it was 6-0 to the Wallabies and the All Blacks were starting to look a bit concerned. But as is said so often the 10 minutes either side of half time is key and the men in black delivered. A try either side of half time broke Aussie hearts and the swing between halves had begun.

The second half not only saw the Kiwis score early with a try on debut for Jack Goodhue in the 44th minute, but also saw the Wallabies defence unable to live up to the standards of the first half. They fell of tackles and were slower on the rush up. The All Blacks took full advantage and scored 2 more tries soon after Goodhue’s meaning that the lead was far too big for the Wallabies to hope to chase down.

While it was always going to be hard for the Wallabies to keep up their defensive pace, the area that cost them this game was their set piece. They conceded penalties at the scrum and their line out became a weapon for the Kiwis. Seven lost line outs on their own throw is criminal at this level and you just cannot hope to give the All Blacks so much ball and not pay for it.

As the game went on the gulf between the two sides became more evident. Whereas Foley struggled to get involved in the game and have an impact, Beauden Barrett’s control over the match just grew and grew. Where the All Blacks were able to reduce the handling errors of the first half, the Wallabies were dropping balls and giving away possession. When the Wallabies had the ball they looked passionate but lacked creativity. When the Kiwis had the ball they looked clinical and ruthless.

Jaco Peyper will be in a lot of people’s discussions about this game – the referee will come in for a lot of flack for how he didn’t penalise the All Blacks but in the end the Wallabies made things far too hard for themselves.

The Wallabies will talk of positives and foundations to build on but in truth there are just as many questions as ever about whether this set of players and coaching staff have what it takes to compete at the top level. Ireland made them look average over the three match series and the All Blacks showed the gap in class in the second 40 minutes today. The Wallabies can likely kiss goodbye to the hopes of regaining the Bledisloe this year but they must, absolutely must beat the Springboks at least at home and the Pumas home and away in this championship. This could be beyond them though and a year out from the World Cup they could find themselves in a very tricky position.

Fans will await news of how Folau recovers from an ankle injury that saw him leave the field early. Fans will also await an explanation of why Folau was not used more at restarts and in open play – he’s the Wallabies best attacking weapon and they have to get him in the game more.

The All Blacks will be disappointed that they started so slowly and while they only conceded points during that first half they will know that they were not up to scratch.

Next week will see the return leg over in Eden Park and you have to say that the result will be similar if not worse.

Wallabies vs All Blacks: Bledisloe Cup Game 1 live scores, blog

Full Time
80‘ – The All Blacks have beaten the Wallabies by a good margin, 38-13, in the opening game of the Rugby Championship and take a 1-0 lead in the Bledisloe.

The Wallabies would have started that second half with real hope that they could grind out a win here but in the end they got blown away as they went on and won the second half 35-7.

Where the Aussie defence was ruthless and organised in the first half it began to tire almost straight away in the second half and the All Blacks found the rhythm their were lacking in the first 40 minutes.

A lot of talk post game will be about the Aussie set piece and especially the line out – they lost 7 of their own throws and that is crazy to give the best team in the world so much ball.

Game 2 promises to be an exciting one but the Wallabies have to be better at keeping their own ball.

Full Match Report to come.

Australia: 13
New Zealand: 38

Wallabies vs All Blacks: Bledisloe Cup Game 1 live scores, blog

80‘ – Wallabies line out fails again – that’s 7 of their own throws that they’ve lost.

The ABs will have the chance to end the game here and although Barrett looks to kick wide to Naholo for one last chance the big winger takes it into touch as he gathers the ball and the ref blows the whistle.

That was a crazy second half.

Australia: 13
New Zealand: 38

Wallabies vs All Blacks: Bledisloe Cup Game 1 live scores, blog

78‘ – Wallabies win the scrum but then lose the ball and the ABs counter again.

Naholo gets it out wide and steps out of a tackle and is away.

ABs are now deep inside the Wallabies half but the Aussies do well at the breakdown and look to counter.

Australia: 13
New Zealand: 38

Wallabies vs All Blacks: Bledisloe Cup Game 1 live scores, blog

77‘ – Wallabies restart again and ABs have it.

Just 3 minutes left.

Wallabies earn a turnover at the ruck though and they will have a scrum about 25m out from the ABs line.

Australia: 13
New Zealand: 38

Wallabies vs All Blacks: Bledisloe Cup Game 1 live scores, blog

76‘ – Barrett slots this one and that’s a big lead now.

Australia: 13
New Zealand: 38

Wallabies vs All Blacks: Bledisloe Cup Game 1 live scores, blog

75‘ – Naholo has his second try for tonight!

Gaps appearing in the Wallabies defence and the passing has tightened up a lot from the ABs. They get it out wide and Nahlolo is able to dance through one gap and then out pace a couple of defenders to score.

That all came from another poor set piece from the Aussies.

Australia: 13
New Zealand: 36

Wallabies vs All Blacks: Bledisloe Cup Game 1 live scores, blog