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robbo999

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Joined June 2013

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Is there any other sport than rugby?

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Must disagree on Smith – generally the best regular rugby journalist in Australia by some distance (although last Saturday’s column was not his finest). Alan Jones was once a very good rugby coach – a very long time ago. Today he is a budgie chirping to himself in its mirror. His column’s add nothing to the betterment of Australian rugby – but only serve to satisfy his own ego. I have stopped reading them. For a specific point, before I get the Roar sued for defamation, his persistent criticism of Raelene Castle as being responsible for all of Australian rugby’s problems, when she has been in the system for the blink of an eye, speaks to his character and intent. I wonder how he has restrained himself from a discussion of “chaf bags”.

The Wrap: No Super Rugby off-season while World Rugby gathers in Sydney

Thanks Brett – fully agree that it is time that the NRC takes the next step – but we know that will take money. The only place that will come from is the TV rights. You will have a closer insight to Foxtel’s thinking for the future, but I imagine that the outcomes will be totally dependent on viewing figures. I do my best to watch/record all the matches on TV and streaming. I had a thought last night that if Foxtel could expand the deal to show all four games live on TV they could possibly on-sell rights to Channel 10 for two of them – they have bigs gaps in their sporting coverage at this time of the year – possibly a foothold for FTA rugby at SS level in the future.

My primary interest in the NRC is the Rising and I am pleased to see that after a couple of years of focussing on youth in the NRC, they have struck a better balance this year with senior players, junior contracted players and newbies like Marsters and King. I reckon they could both end up with EPS contracts this year.

I have enjoyed watching Jack Debrizini playing for Northland in the Mitre 10 cup this over the past few weeks. He is ripping it up and I expect to see him back with the Rebels next year (if if Quade does come).

On the NRC- whats happening with the Horan-Little Trophy – it never gets mentioned these days Including last year) – the only person who seems to care is the guy who maintains its Wikipedia page. By my estimation the current holders are the Vikings. Why the lack of interest these days?

The NRC bridge must be kept open. That was the whole point…

Thanks Geoff – another long day of rugby stretching from 1.00 to 10.00 pm with highs and lows to enjoy.

Well done to both the Boks and the Pumas who both showed what is possible if you simply play for each other and the jersey for the full 80 minutes. This is where the Wallabies seem to come unstuck with increasing regularity. I don’t buy the “we don’t have the cattle” arguments, just as I don’t buy the “all our coaches are crap (especially the …… one)” either. What we seem to lack on a consistent basis is confidence inspiring leadership. Is Pocock a natural leader – not on Saturday’s performance – too “nice” and not enough mongrel. Hooper does not seem to inspire undying loyalty either, but we did miss his energiser bunny role in this game. All we ever hear from these people is platitudes, never ever open criticism of the team. For mine the only person in the squad with the experience, the reputation and the “mongrel” to captain this team at the moment is Genia.

Anyway – weren’t the Rising wonderful? A dominant scrum, a back row that played to its potential and a confident 9 who played at speed and with skill allowing the backs to work their magic (Tom English is the answer to Cheik’a prayers). Welcome back Laurie Weeks – the Rock. Leota has come out of rehab without the puppy fat and looking strong, mobile and quick. He will keep Naisarani honest next year. With the three long distance away games over and three out the four remaining games at home if they can continue to play like this they are a good chance of the finals.

The Wrap: Dyantyi and Lavanini ‘slide the doors’ for the All Blacks and Wallabies

Good to see Marika back. He had his best game in defence for the Wallabies last weekend. He will need to keep it up against Argentina this weekend who’s e;eusive wingers were very good against the ABs.

Marika Koroibete inks new deal with Rugby AU as he eyes 2019 World Cup

Thanks Geoff. I have to take a slightly different view on the “quality” of the game. I was engrossed for the whole game, despite it rough edges. While it would have been great to see two teams play scintillating rugby for 80 minutes, with the Wallabies overwhelming SA for bonus try at the death, I doubt I would have been more engaged with the game. We won. Let’s agree on what need to improve, but – let’s celebrate a little to.

Right now we are in the third rank of world rugby: 1 ABs, 2 Ireland, 3 Australia, SA, England Wales and France all about equal, each able to win against the others (or lose) on any given day. I acknowledge that that is not what Australian supporters have been brought up to expect (or accept) but that’s where we’re at. I see no sign of that changing between now and Japan. What RA need to do is plan longer term to the next World Cup via the proposed centralisation of coaching structures etc that our now being resurrected – however that plan will have to past the closed minds in certain state rugby organisations who killed it off before during O’Neil’s first stint as CEO and who are still hunting to kill off the NRC.

On the subject of the NRC, it is time to pause the “let’s help Fiji develop it’s rugby program” efforts until immediately after we beat then in our WC pool match. At their current rate of progress they will be a serious handful.

And do not get me started on the Rising – talk about scrum halves arriving at the ruck without clue – Ruru spent more time directing traffic while the defence got set than he did with ball in hand.

The Wrap: Wallabies will need more than resilience to beat Argentina

To all the commentators below who say that was not a good game of rugby, that the Wallabies were rubbish, that the Boks were rubbish, who take cheap shots at various players who gave their all tonight – sorry you are all wrong. Grow amp and accept that at the moment the ABs are a class above and we and the rest of the Tier 1 nations are not – we are close, but are unlikely to close the gap between now and the World Cup. Live with it and stop spouting ignorant rubbish. That was an absorbing and great game – by no means a perfect game by either team in very difficult conditions – but overall it gripped me from start to finish. If that game did not not do something similar for you you are probably better off looking at another sport.

No Folau, no Pocock, no worries for Wallabies

Really the whole team was a 7 – a couple of 8’s in Genia and Hooper (for resilience in remaining on with a dodgy hammy) and Taniela for similar reasons. Alan Alaalaatoa was a 5 – touched up really.

What we have to accept is that we are avery good and competitive second level side along with SA, Argentina, Ireland, England etc and that the AB’s are just a class above at the moment. Can we bridge that gap by the next world cup – I doubt it, but that is no reason to despair – onward and upward for the next one.

VOTE: Wallabies DIY player ratings vs Springboks

Fully agree on Sa’aga, and for that reason I am quite pleased the Slipper seems to be going to Canberra. Slipper is great prop but the Rebels need to be developing young players who regard the Rebels as home and will stick around. Rugby.com.au are reporting that Luke Jones is coming back in time for SS high which will be great. However it will all go to you know where without a 10. I note your comment above re Deehan – not sure. I would also not be surprised to Jack D back – Wessels seems to like him (and its a pity they let McGrath go). Also our back row was shocking against the Drua – all three of them – which is a worry. I am hoping they had just overtrained and lacked energy.

RWC bolters are out there, if they’re wanted

One of the best backrowers of the last three years just accepted reality and went overseas. That Colby Faing’a never even got invited to a Wallaby training squad is beyond my comprehension.

But I’m sorry MaCaffery is not international class.

After Saturday’s performance, Naisarani has a lot to prove.

I think that Valenti will prove to be the long term answer at No 8, but only because MacMahon has gone walkabout

RWC bolters are out there, if they’re wanted

Theory do disappear when you initially post (and then you realise that they have removed the edit function) – but sometime after they come back – go figure

RWC bolters are out there, if they’re wanted

Thanks Geoff for the best piece for rugby journalism in Australia fro some time. A great antidote to the weekly rantings of others (in other organs) who seem to only want to destroy rather than repair Australian rugby. You clearly articulate what any sensible person knows must happen to grow the game in this country but (and I don’t blame you at all for this) you are not able to explain how to make it happen.

Having only spent that 25 of my 65 years as an Australian rugby fan, I have no dog in the fight when it comes to the parochial tribal wars that seem to divide Australian rugby, but I have very strong memories of a speech by Simon Poindevon (sp?) at a Weary Dunlop Club lunch in Melbourne when the ARC was about to be launched way back then. He made clear his intense dislike of the whole concept and avered that the only way to create a third tier in Australia was the continued development and professionalisation of the Shute Shield. He also made it pretty clear that there were a lot of people in Sydney who shared his views and that they would do all they could to stop the ARC. Evidence of their power was the re-emergence of O’Neil and the end of the ARC after one year.

The Sydney powerbrokers are still there with their heads firmly planted in the sand. The challenge to us all is to find way to get then to start looking at the sky.

The Wrap: A way forward for Australian rugby – how hard can it be?

Yes the trains from Olympic Park were OK so long as you were going to the city. We had to change at Strathfiled to get to my son’s place in Summer Hill – expected wait was 1 h 40 m. We somehow fluked a taxi and were home in 20.

I forgot to say earlier – congratulations to the Wallaroos – it was worth going early last week (despite the beer) and three tries on Saturday was good going. If Twiggy wasn’t somewhere to spend money on Rugby, professsionalising the women would be somewhere to start.

The Wrap: Bonus point Barrett a class above the Wallabies

I have to agree CS – total madness. And yes there are several Australian hookers and utility backs about to run around in the NRC when they should be in the Wallabies squad.

The Wrap: Bonus point Barrett a class above the Wallabies

Thanks Geoff – not many teams could have lived with the AB’s on Saturday night and while I did not enjoy it as a supporter of the Wallabies, it was pretty thrilling to watch as a supporter of rugby. The AB’s are special at the moment but BB, Brodie and the Smiths are in a different class.

Despite the result it was a much more enjoyable this weekend because this weekend – I had not paid $160 for a crappy seat at a crappy stadium, surrounded by gloating AB supporters, watching most of the game on the big screen (especially as all the second half action was down the other end) paying through the nose for crappy food and even crappier beer and wine (not to mention having to deal with a train system in melt down, brought low by one aluminium helium balloon apparently). Sydney really does need the promised new stadiums. Rant over.

I have not yet rewatched the game but an abiding impression I had was the most of the tries off turn over ball was our inability to nail the first tackle – some may not count as missed tackle ad the tackler was still hanging on, but it needed at least one if not two additional players to actually stop the attacker – leaving huge gaps in defence for the ABs to waltz through. Either the ABs have spiders on them or our blokes are just too slow.

The Wrap: Bonus point Barrett a class above the Wallabies

Jake White is a possibility, but you can’t have Wessels until he wins something – preferably the SS title with the Rebels. The problem with our current pipeline of Australian coaches (and Wessels was sworn in as an Australian about a month ago) is that none of them have won anything as coaches, including Larkam. We need to give them time to prove themselves before we demand that they deliver at international level. If they can’t prove themselves then we have to look abroad and the obvious place is NZ who’s coaches, I am confident, will be coaching the two participants in next year’s RWC final.

The Wrap: Bonus point Barrett a class above the Wallabies

Paulo, Geoff

Who is normally guilty of tackling beyond the ruck – NZ teams from SS to the ABs – but once they do get pinged they stop. The Commentary suggested that the AB coaches had a word to the ref during the week about this “Wallabies” tactic and in this game the ABs were as pure as the driven snow. Just examples of how: their coaches are ALWAYS ahead of our coaches and, our players just don’t have the nous to think things out for themselves on the run. But I agree – who is credibly going to replace the coach(s) and the current crop of players, especially the senior ones.

The Wrap: Bonus point Barrett a class above the Wallabies

Good article Geoff. I hope you get paid not just by the number but the length of the comments you generate?

I agree that RA must be very careful how it works with WSR and Twiggy. It is essential that RA remains the pre-eminent power in Australian rugby. However I wish WSR well and hope it gets up next year as planned – although I continue to have doubts about its long term viability. My preference is for the Force to come back into Super Rugby in 2021, perhaps in a wider Asia-Pacific only format. Not that I want SA out (i have never understood the Australian naysayers who decry the involvement of SA teams because of the time zone differences etc) – but it seems to be drifting that way under their own steam.

Andrew Forrest ramps up political and PR war against Rugby Australia

I have no problem with anyone in any profession maximising their value, especially in professional sport. Good luck to him.

My major problem is that every other 7 in the country has just had the door slammed on their career aspirations. No wonder Fainga’a is off. You will never seen Gill back. Richard Hardwick – good luck to you. All the up and comers working there way through the system with dreams of gold in their eyes. Sorry, extended playing squad is the best you can hope for – unless Hooper gets crocked (and let’s face it, now that it has happened once, proving that he is human after all – it may well happen more often)>

The deeply stupid thing here is RA (I’m channeling my inner Alan Jones here). Five year contracts are just dumb in any contact sport.

Michael Hooper signs enormous deal with Rugby Australia

Daveski – the notable absentee from the four finals played on NZ soil was – Ben Skeen. It is also notable that he will not feature at all during the Rugby Championship. The down side being that Marius Joncker does – TMO for all three Bledisloe games.

Super Rugby 2018: The panel concludes the ninth Crusade

The biggest potential downside I can see is that they would probably have to allow a two-week gap between the semi’s and the final. This not only to allow more time for the teams’/supporters logistics to be worked out but to allow a clear week for all the hoopla the promoters will want. This could result in a loss of momentum among the neutral fan base and would also conflict with the international season (however that works out in future). But I agree – worth a shot.

The Wrap: Crusaders win the stats that matter - and with them the title

Thanks Geoff. I was having a wee winter wander round the wineries of Rutherglen on the weekend, but fortunately my B&B had excellent wi-fi and a warm fire. Not much to say that has not been said below. Awesome is one of my biggest pet hate words, but it is difficult to come up with a more appropriate word to describe the Crusaders. While they had a dry spell under Blackadder (I may have got that wrong) they have just been the dominant team in Super Rugby for last 20 years. The amazing thing is that every two years or so I watch them at the start of the season and realise I have never heard of half the team before and wonder – where did they come from?

Given your final comments I assume you would not be a supporter of Mark Ella’s idea floated in Saturday’s OZ of making the SS Grand Final an international marquee event sold to the highest bidder in places such as London, Hong Kong or New York. I can see some of his proposed advantages, but hope it does not happen until I have the chance to cheer on the Rebels at AAMI Park in a SS Grand Final (in the not too distant future).?

The Wrap: Crusaders win the stats that matter - and with them the title

Thanks Beardie – it does seem that hosting finals can be a commercial poisoned chalice.

The Wrap: Continuity the key as Crusaders march onwards

Excellent wrap Geoff. Two very enjoyable games.

The Canes just looked off and the Crusaders just did their thing. I think the Canes have really missed dane Coles this year, (as I hope the AB’s do). Having said that, they were still good enough to come second on H and A, but they really missed his captaincy, especially on Saturday.

Well done Tahs, a good season banked and something to build on. The Lions started the season looking unbeatable but injuries first to Whitely and later to Marks slowed their season. Marks is immense and is ably supported by Smith but to me, Whitely is the lynchpin. When they were both back and fully fit after the June break, normal services was resumed I hope they win next week for no other reason than supporting the underdog and a lot of respect for what they have achieved over the past four years. I remember the moment in the game at AAMI Park in 2015. The Rebels were well ahead at half-time and we were all looking forward to a good win against the perennial “easybeats”. The Lions came out and just blew us away and have barely looked back since.

A question you may know the answer to. I read somewhere last week that the Lions would not have made a profit out of their 35K crowd against the Jaguares last week as they had to pay the Jags $100K for coming. That seemed strange and may be a function of the value of the Rand. But may broader question is – how is the divvy up of the expenses and the gate managed in the finals (and the regular season also). For example, did the Tahs have to pay the Highlanders a $100K out of their miserable gate as well, despite the much shorter travel? If so the bean counters would probably have rued the home final.

The Wrap: Continuity the key as Crusaders march onwards

It is, Foxtel pregame starts at 10.30 and they have sent Clark and Horan – so you will get a totally unbiased commentary!

Super Rugby semis: Seems obvious, right?

Geoff – definitely the justified argument. Two head-highs on the same player in virtually the same tackle doe snot leave a lot of room for argument, especially so near to try line. As I said ealier, Tahs pressure, Highlanders in disarray, Naholo has no one backing him up. One big moment created and opportunity. The Tahs took it.

Geez – at this rate I’ll be taking out a membership..!

The Wrap: ‘Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch you know that I love you’