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Rob9

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Joined September 2011

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Roar Guru
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Dissecting another Wallabies loss

Well, another Test and another loss for the 2013 Wallabies (sigh). Being the last match of the southern hemisphere’s Test season I feel compelled to put my thoughts down about our most recent failure to cleanse myself before we try our luck up north.

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Roar Guru

International eligibility: Cleaning up the mess

After looking back at international eligibility issues that made frequent appearances in rugby headlines around the world, and putting poaching under the microscope by identifying the negative side effects of the practice, it’s time to clean up the international eligibility mess.

Tongue in cheek JN. That said, that 2011 RWC warm up against Samoa still haunts me! Agree, SA were robbed. 2023 should have gone to the Republic. I suppose $$ talk and WR are increasingly showing more willingness to listen. It’s sad that it looks like WR will move to 16 year cycles where the UK and France will be lock ins for 2 of the 4 in the cycle.

The biggest upsets in Test match history

Sad (the decline of rugby interest… not so much the collapse of communism part).

The biggest upsets in Test match history

Nice read IW. You’d be pressed finding many (non-South Africans anyway) who would disagree with number 1. Such a great game and brilliant result for the rugby world.

Plenty from the 90’s and earlier I was unaware of. The trajectory of Romania since professionalism is a real shame. Didn’t they almost knock off the AB’s in the 80’s? Would love to have them up there snapping at the heels of the best where they have been at times through history.

Probably the one omission that springs to my mind is Fiji skittling Wales out of France 2007. I know Wales weren’t exactly world beaters at the time but they clean swept the 6 Nations just 2 years earlier. Fiji also had a pretty handy team (so I can understand leaving it out). Was my game of the tournament.

The biggest upsets in Test match history

Obviously this one suggestion for 5 2019 debutants and there’s arguments for a few more worth considering; but isn’t it somewhat concerning that 4 of these 5 potential Wallaby newbies are very late 20’s/early 30’s?

Five debutants the Wallabies should pick in 2019

The issue is, he’s categorizing homosexuality as a sin. Then to suggest homosexuals repent their sin is to acknowledge their poor judgement in living this way and ‘right their wrong’ by changing their behaviour (eg. sexuality). The meaning behind 2019’s most picked apart image of Instagram is really that simple.

There’s no hiding behind religion with this either. This is so far out of step for 2019. There aren’t many Christians quoting passages from the Bible that are sympathetic towards slavery to justify their opinions in this space. Those that decry homosexuality deserve to be similarly buried in today’s day and age.

Israel Folau issued breach notice, has 48 hours to respond

Peter, you’re putting words into my keyboard that just aren’t there. What I ‘disagreed strongly’ with is your justification for shooting down a LSL, Pocock and SMcM backrow.

Just remember; McMahon isn’t eligible to play for the Wallabies. Although it’s something I wish would eventuate, I’m well aware he won’t be coming back any time soon. Certainly not before the time Cheika will be selecting his 31 for Japan. Therefore, as a mad Wallaby fan and one of a couple of 100 thousand wannabe selectors, I’m probably going to have to get behind something that could potentially be a reality.

I’ve done nothing but sing Naisarini’s praises in this exchange, suggesting he’s the man at the back of the scrum in McMahon’s certain absence. And did I not suggest that the need for LSL in the back row isn’t as great if Naisarini starts and Jones could very well be a credible 6 in this scenario?

Banks eyes Folau's vacant Wallabies jersey

That’s fair enough too. I take Coleman more on history. But Rodda and Arnold are both playing some great rugby for the Reds and Brumbies respectively at the moment.

Banks eyes Folau's vacant Wallabies jersey

Thanks name police. Well aware of the change. Reverting back as I’m still not around the spelling. Apologies to Lurkhan and his family….

Agree, LSL our positioning in defence plays away from his strengths. He seemed to move in (whether it was against the game plan or not) and get his hands more dirty in attack though.

I like your 5 and it’s probably what we’ll end up with. I’d just swap Arnold for Rhodda.

Banks eyes Folau's vacant Wallabies jersey

McMahon is hardly a poor 4th choice target in the lineout.

McMahon adds a different dimension to ball running as opposed to LSL who runs in the tighter channels. And while he’s no Pocock over the ball, he does have that going for him over any other 8 (and Hooper) on offer.

A backrow of SL, Pocock and SMcM lacks the ability to set a platform at the breakdown and secure front foot ball to build an attack from?? That’ll do me.

Banks eyes Folau's vacant Wallabies jersey

As I’ve alluded to, the 3 I’ve put up as our best backrow I’ve looked at as a unit as well as assessing their individual merits.

The need for LSL to be mobile isn’t great when McMahon is at 8. I’ve based my desire to go after McMahon on his age and standing in the game prior to his departure from our shores.

I wholeheartedly agree, Naisarini is a mouthwatering prospect (so too Valetini before he was injured), but he’s untested at against All Black and Bok packs while McMahon is and he checks out. McMahon’s obviously not an option right now and it doesn’t look like he will be for the foreseeable future so I thoroughly look forward to seeing how Naisarini goes at the next level and I hope for our sake he’s the answer moving forward. With him there, the need for an abrasive 6 like LSL isn’t as great so Jones can enter the conversation.

Banks eyes Folau's vacant Wallabies jersey

Ok; Lurkhan has shown more promise at 6 than anyone else has for quite some time. He’s certainly no slower than Fardy who was the last decent 6 we had. Hits a ruck and gain-line harder than Jones, is a legitimate jumper and balances nicely with a more mobile Pocock/McMahon 7/8.

Jones has had test opportunities in the past and he hasn’t taken them like Tui has. He was one of our more impactful forwards before the unfortunate events on the Gold Coast last year and in a side like ours that struggles to compete up front- that’s currency. Jones has come back strongly for the Rebels and I look forward to seeing him given his chances in Gold this year. But as things stand- Tui has the nod on him for mine. And this is also a response to my favoured 7/8 combination of McMahon and Pocock.

McMahon is a more recognised jumper than either Pocock or Hooper who have been our go-to 7/8 for some time. We certainly don’t lose anything there with McMahon compared to the status quo and with Tui at 6, there’s less need for a legit 4th target. Before he left, McMahon was one of our (if not the) best forwards we had- at only 24yo why wouldn’t you do what you could to get him back if there was an opportunity to (which of course there doesn’t seem to be atm)?

Next, Skelton would make my 23 for the aforementioned reasons so that’s why I would get him back for the RWC.

While I agree, White and JOC could potentially make the 23- I believe when you look across the squad, there isn’t as great a need in the positions they cover compared to the other names mentioned. White has been going well in the Premiership but let’s face it, Sanchez is our clear starter and the exciting emergence of Tate doesn’t create a clear case for bringing NW back. While there are some depth concerns in the back 3, JOC is yet to rebound fully from his injury woes. If he starts to get some real runs on the board for Sale, he certainly come into contention.

Banks eyes Folau's vacant Wallabies jersey

Disagree strongly with all of that

Banks eyes Folau's vacant Wallabies jersey

Our best back row is Tui, Pocock and McMahon (assuming McMahon is capable of at the level he was at when he left). Naisarini and/or Valetini also show promise at 8 and 6. Throw Hooper in there and those 6 blokes would be handy to be taking away to Japan.

Our Lock stocks are ‘OK’ but hardly world beaters. When you look at the teams ahead of us, they actually look pretty weak and any option to boost them is certainly worth exploring. Skelton is playing the house down in the Premiership and thrown in with Coleman, Arnold and Rhodda, he provides good depth in the 2nd row. If we can capture the form he’s shown he’s capable of for Sarries, he’d be great to have come on off the bench when the game starts to open up.

It’d be desireable if White and JOC were here to select too and while both would make the squad, neither would make my 23.

Banks eyes Folau's vacant Wallabies jersey

Yea, I think when the dust settles the ‘real’ question becomes; ‘what to do with all this money that was to be sunk into Izzy for the next 4 years’? I agree, do what we can to lock in Kerevi. Assuming he’s already on a decent wicket and that should only represent a top up of what was on the table, there should still be a bit to play with. I’d like to see RA call Sefa back to the table because we’re looking particularly skinny in the back 3 even before this all went down. With half the Super Rugby season still left and a RWC awaiting us, I’d love to see RA use their newfound fortunes to also really go hard at one or both of Sean McMahon and Will Skelton.

Banks eyes Folau's vacant Wallabies jersey

This is too good; so because Folau didn’t actually type anything homophobic on his Instagram post, that part was simply contained in the image he shared- he doesn’t have a case to answer for!? What was on the post (both that from Folau’s fingertips and the image he shared) is what he’s standing for and to broadcast an image suggesting hell awaits homosexuals is to express a homophobic opinion. It could have been chiseled on Moses’ tablet for all I care, it’s a homophobic opinion. It’s been suggested ad nauseam throughout this that the Bible is full of contradictions and ‘standards’ for life that are out of step for 2019. There are plenty of god-loving Christians who manage to lead impeccable lives while turning a blind eye to the more extreme elements of ancient Christianity. There’s no hiding behind religion in this, Israel’s calling out a section of society based on their sexuality and put it to them that who they are is not right. THAT is not right and his employers are rightly holding him account to his actions. The message RA is sending is that there’s plenty of room for everyone in rugby; Christian’s (of which there are plenty who manage to do the right thing by their god and their employers), gays, Muslims etc. Just no a$$holes. But hey, you might get a gig as Folau’s lawyer, that’s as ‘unique’ a defence as I’ve heard.

"Do not judge," said Jesus: An open, personal letter to Israel Folau

Fatboy, I guess the Bible and Folau collide spectacularly with 2019 where being gay isn’t viewed as a ‘sin’ or having a ‘problem’. You’re also seriously clutching if you think your so-called church based rugby nurseries are going to drop over 100 years of history because the game’s governing body sacked a player over a (series of) homophobic instagram posts.

"Do not judge," said Jesus: An open, personal letter to Israel Folau

I’d have these ‘Tasman’ and ‘Atlantic’ competitions running when the current Super Rugby season does, completely independent from one and other with their own finals series. Then after these seasons and our domestic tests season, bring these 17 teams together along with the winners (or top 2) of the other competitions I’ve suggested and run the 20-team tournament with the RWC format from scratch.

Totally agree the identity of Super Rugby teams has a lot to answer for with regards to the current woes it seems to be having. In terms of SA involvement, I think part of the issue (from and Australian perspective) is that they’re culturally and geographically distant from Australia and NZ. The average Aussie punter has no idea where the Lions or Sharks are from and even if they do, they don’t know a heck of a lot about J-burg or Durban because they’re on the other side of the planet, well away from our silo. At least this barrier is somewhat smaller when looking at our cousins across the ditch.

I think the ‘Champions League’ concept at the back end of the season and exposing our teams and fans to these more global identities has merit as it’s the ‘cherry on top’ as opposed to the ‘centre piece’ that a domestic league represents. And you want this centre piece in viewer friendly timezones and played amongst teams that have meaning to fans. That’s not the case as it currently stands.

From the South Pacific to Super 18: The Super Rugby odyssey

Bring back the Force and our (AUS) 5 and NZ’s 5 play a 13 round ‘Super 10’. Everyone plays each other once then teams from their own country a 2nd time.

Meanwhile, SA brings back the 2 that went north and their 6 and the Jaguares play in their own comp. everyone plays each other twice for a 12-game/14-week competition.

We then have in-bound tests against the north and the Rugby Championship before all linking up together in an Indian Pacific Champions League tournament that runs over 8 weeks before the northern hemisphere test. What that looks like: Australia and NZ’s 5, SA’s 6 and Argentina’s 1 plus the 2 best from the Japanese Top League and the MLR champion for a 20 team league run using the same format as the RWC (4 pools of 5).

The domestic/provincial rugby puzzle solved using existing infrastructure and proven formulas that are engaging for the fans (more domestically focused leagues). There’s also a new concept in there to add that international flavor (that by no means represents the guts of the season) that will help further boost the bottom line and aid the financial health of the SANZAAR partners. There’s also possibilities for further expansion down the track when the game is in a position to do so.

From the South Pacific to Super 18: The Super Rugby odyssey

Of course everyone’s entitled to their opinion. That’s just not something that’s up for question in any of this. Izzy can preach his backwardness through insta, in church, on street corners and even in public transport till his hearts content without fear of being thrown in jail. He just won’t be representing Rugby Australia or the NSW Waratahs who have aggressively contrasting values and beliefs to his.

Great article/letter by the way!

"Do not judge," said Jesus: An open, personal letter to Israel Folau

A to D it is Geoff. Just to be clear on your 2 points from my end; Firstly, I’m not suggesting rugby salaries will grow to anything like soccer salaries. Nor am I inferring that’s what your belief is either. I’m simply suggesting the meteoric rise that’s got them to this point is history now. I’d expect a far more measured approach to this moving forward which will make it somewhat easier for the Southern Hemisphere to keep up if it can get it’s game together (I again refer to the Super Rugby model not representing the SH’s capacity to ‘get it’s game together’). Next and finally, I’m totally aware of the force associated with the ‘collective power’ which has also contributed to the meteoric rise of Northern Hemisphere club rugby and effectively underpins the entire SANZAAR model. Again, I would put it to you that the PRL and LNR have done an incredible job of leveraging this phenomena. They’ve certainly done a better job of going closer to reaching its full potential than we have down here imo.

The Wrap: Dark clouds gather again around Super Rugby and the World League

And yes there’s the broadcast deal which greatly determines how much further owners may be willing to open their pockets. But the current deal lasts until 2021 and globally we’re entering a period of enormous uncertainty with sports consumption. I wouldn’t necessarily be banking on the theory that the value of this going to go up considerably.

The Wrap: Dark clouds gather again around Super Rugby and the World League

All over how these clubs operate in this regard, Geoff. I just think it’s not worth getting carried away and painting the threat of these leagues to be something that it’s not. Yes, they’ve got an edge on what we can serve up down here and they always will. But again, rugby is not soccer and our professional game is far more a product of market forces than the open cheque book reality that exists in soccer. Wages won’t continue to balloon at a frightening pace and unfortunately for players, our game simply isn’t in a position to allow them to. Unlike the truly global beast of soccer which seems to have no ceiling, the rugby market as considerably smaller and easier to define and there is a very real cap on what players can draw as an income. We’ve probably found that for now, may be even gone slightly beyond it which is what the rhetoric in these articles suggests. There’s been a period of strong growth as the game has begun to realize the possibilities that come with professionalism, however the climate now seems to be focused more on sustainability. Of course there will be ongoing growth in all aspects of the game, but for the sustainability of the clubs and the fact that we now have a more mature and defined market, I don’t believe it won’t occur at leaps and bounds as it may have done in the past. This mood amongst the Premiership’s club owners who control the purse string and collectively establish what the game can afford on player wages is certainly reflected in these articles.

The Wrap: Dark clouds gather again around Super Rugby and the World League

I think we’re effectively gunning for the same thing here Ray. Just to be clear, I’m not exactly suggesting Australia make a straight swap of NZ and SA for the US and Japan (misleading headline that wasn’t my choice). Far from it. I’ve suggested an Australian based league very similar to yours to take the place of the primary focus of our domestic season. Then (assuming the NZ and SA horses have bolted which would be my best guess given we would have pulled out of Super Rugby) we link up for only a small window with Japan and the US in an attempt to go some ways towards supplementing the financial gain we took from our involvement in SR. This would by no means look like what SR currently does and would simply be an 8 week add on to the season. It’s only at this stage that games would be played OS and a few outside friendly time zones.

Why Australia should ditch Super Rugby and embrace Japan and the USA

Karl, you’ve asked a question I’ve given an answer to. I was very careful to put ‘one of’ in there for folk like yourself who know better. Of course this is something that’s completely subjective and really beside the point, but I don’t think there’s any doubt that Sydney at least represents one of a few rugby Mecca’s. The first fact there (home to the largest rugby competition in the world) would suggest
the shock and horror you’ve expressed at ‘Sydney’ and ‘significant rugby city’ being in the same sentence is slightly OTT.

Why Australia should ditch Super Rugby and embrace Japan and the USA

Sorry Geoff, this was a reply to tc and I don’t really have too much more to add. I did have a couple of interesting reads following our exchange. Here’s some links of 2 overlapping articles if you’re interested:
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/aug/28/premiership-rugby-clubs-join-forces
https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/sport/2018/aug/28/premiership-clubs-finances-sustainability
Note these quotes from 1 of the 2 billionaire owners in the Premiership (there you go tc… turns out there’s more than 1):
“Sustainability has to be the goal because no one can last for ever,” and “Bristol is not profitable: the club was within a gnat’s whisker of going out of business when I took over and it has to become sustainable because I do not want to wish my life away.”
Reading these two articles, there’s a definite tone that out of control wages have become somewhat of a problem for that league. I don’t believe much has changed in the 6 months since these were written.

The Wrap: Dark clouds gather again around Super Rugby and the World League