The Roar
The Roar


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Joined June 2013







Is there any other sport than rugby?



If you has asked this yesterday morning Geoff I would have said Wales (home advantage etc etc), but I finally got around to watching the Ireland France match last night and I have to go with the boyos in green. Sure Wales will be a lot tougher than France, but the sheer intensity of the Irish in the first half was something to behold. By about 7.

Super Rugby Round 5: Perfection lives here

If the SMH does have good back up to this story they would not have allowed Growden to punt it in a gossip column – one thing the former Fairfax papers did have is a very good and professional investigative journalism unit – Adele Stevenson comes to mind and Nick (?)White – footers in conjunction with the ABC. This was Growden doing what Growden does – chuck out unverifiable tidbits on supposed scandals to justify his existence. Spiro should know better. Clearly under Nine, standards have slipped – no names named so no libels to defend – let the click bait go is clearly their mantra.

The rugby world should take Greg Growden's Wallabies match-fixing allegations seriously

I forget to mentions the Super W game. When I went to Boxhill a few weeks ago the the Rebels were truly awful, especially in the tackle. They looked as if they had spent the pre-season playing touch. There were signs of improvement agains the Brumbies especially in the send half but they were still very poor on the edges. So I went to AAMI Park early on Friday with little hope.

Melbourne’s Friday night traffic and public transport woes (however no pain no gain) meant that I arrived on 17 minutes – missing their first points of the season – however they wherein the middle of a period of staunch goal line defence that took the WA some about eight attempts to breach. Progress. Thereafter it got better and better. Yes, WA deservedly won comfortably, but the second half was a draw and the Rebels try got the best cheer of the night (on a per capita supported basis). We now know the answer, at least one session of lawn bowls per week.

I don’t doubt that NSW will win comfortably in two weeks, but I am very proud of this group of young women with very little rugby experience who have never dropped their heads and have kept on turning up for nought but their pride in themselves, the jersey and the club.

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

Hi Geoff

I was seated right behind Quade’s kicking leg, second tier, when he took that conversion and everyone around me, including Quade, had given a collective “bugger” before the rugby gods stepped up and faded it in off the post. That’s when we knew the fates were with us and the Brumbies were toast. However given the vicissitudes of a game of rugby it is sobering to know that the game was actually decided in the 28th minute when a sentient human decided to “take the three”.

Now I have to decide whether to stay up late and watch the Lions game next week, possibly consigning myself to a sleepless night thereafter, or going to bed early (no game on Oz next Saturday night), tossing and turning all night and getting up about 4 am grumpy and tired to find out my fate. Such is the lot of an Australian SS supporter. Let’s chuck those pesky Boks out of the comp! Especially since they seem to want to discard my second favourite team (arguably the biggest opportunity for SANZAAR to f’k up southern hemisphere rugby this week). Go Moondogs.

I usually travel up to Sydney for the Rebels game up there – a good opportunity to catch up with my sone and his partner but I have some doubts now. the SFS was the crappiest major stadium in Australia (even Canberra is better) and it should be replaced but as you say, watching rugby on a cricket oval is not worth the money – and if the pitch is crap it turns into a lottery. Maybe I’ll go anyway and we just go to the Concord pub (Bill whatshisnames place and guaranteed to be showing the rugby on the big screen), drink decent beer, eat decent food with no long trudge home.

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

I was going to say that I thought they had tweaked the rule either last year or the one before. However there was no way I was actually going to check. Well done Digger.

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

And always pretend you’re enjoying the experience!

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

With the Sevens Team in Vancouver

Super Rugby Round 4 expert tips: No, seriously. Good luck…

I’m going all home except the Moondogs and he Big Cats. Lions are looking frail (or is that just hope against hope for next week?) and I’m on the Sunwolves big time. Go Doggies.

Super Rugby Round 4 expert tips: No, seriously. Good luck…

I believe the weather had an impact on crowd ( G&G report gives at a tick over 11,000). They were hoping for 15K. The weather was bad enough and was having an impact on public transport but quite a few rail lines were going to bus replacement services by the time the game was over (especially all the eastern lines). I suppose they need to get this stuff done before the AFL starts, but can’t they do it on a Tuesday night?

The Wrap: World League, Super Rugby and The Smiths

Thanks Geoff, great to have your informed perspective on the World League brouhaha. Certainly the most considered discussion I have read on this issue. As a Scot I can understand their issues of being demoted from a competition they have been in since the literal dawn of international rugby. The Italians have less claim on perpetuity. But as Diggercane says, I do not envy the decision makers on this.

Talking of Smiths, my maternal grandmother was a Smith and all of the family that I grew up with were Smiths, the various intersecting male lineages having succumbed to the vissicitudes of pre-vaccination life in the less affluent prats of Glasgow, scarlet fever seeming to be a major culprit (don’t get me started on anti-vaxers!!). All of the male members of this clan seemed to be called John or Jimmy, not a George in sight let alone a Ben or an Aaron. (Interestingly, Jimmy’s seem to come in two sizes only – “Big Jimmy” and “Wee Jimmy”, no ordinary sized Jimmies, leaving that sobriquet available as a point of emphasis in male-male conversations as in “Know whit a mean, Jimmy!”). I haver always been very glad my mother did not marry a Smith.

While you are no doubt lolling in the air-conditioned comfort of the press box, I was in the torrid 30+ agree crowd and I can assure you that the last 20 minutes certainly raised a serious sweat amongst all, including the Clan fans. We would have lost that game last year (as we would have the Brumbies game). Next week will be very interesting and another head scratcher for the tipsters. Another win for the Rebels and they can go to Africa with some reasonable hope of breaking their drought over there.

As for the rest of the comp – thank goodness for the Sunwolves: Australia (conference) 2, New Zealand 2. Hearty congrats to the ‘Wolves – they are the most entertaining team in the company the moment and I was cheering them home. Definitely my No 2 team – so the fools at Sandra will probably cut them.

The Wrap: World League, Super Rugby and The Smiths

Thanks Geoff

Started the weekend by reading the the first two para’s of Jonsie’s weekly diatribe in the Oz and deciding that it was entirely unnecessary to read any more. But the Reds brought a smile to my face, the Sunwolves had me cheering (and the Tahs were just embarrassing) and then the Brumbies – wow. Then I got up on Sunday morning and the English had been well beaten by the Welsh – how good is that. Unfortunately I then went to Box Hill. Nuff said.

Looking forward to Friday night.

The Wrap: Sparkling Brumbies lay down challenge to Australian rugby fans

He is very big and very mobile. The Rebels facebook page may still have a copy of the stream from the Reds trial match – last quarter is the bit to watch.

By the way, the highlights clip in your post will not play – as a SKY clip it may be geoblocked

Welcome back to the big time, Quade Cooper

Nothing wrong with Fereti as far as I know – he was fit for the opposed training v the Sunwolves.

I said it yesterday in Geoff’s column – Sa’aga, Uelese, Fa’amausili is by preferred front row. Although I feel a lot more comfortable with Rangi after last week. It’s amazing what having more targets does for a hooker’s line out stats

Welcome back to the big time, Quade Cooper

Thanks Geoff.

I am very glad that I took the drive up the Hume on Friday for the Brumbies- Rebels games. It was good to feel the ebb and flow of a rugby crowd again, even if it meant being subjected to the worst ground announcer in world rugby and being surrounded by ferals in yellow caps (just kidding – all really nice people – except when QC was goal kicking).

I thought that the Rebels deserved the win – just, and I agree that the Genia-Cooper combo looks like the answer for them. The game plan was excellent and when they won good ball it really put the Brumbies under enormous strain. However, the Brumbies exposed some serious deficiencies in the pack that other teams will be licking their lips about.

In open field play, attack and defence, I thought the pack was excellent although they need to improve ball security in collisions. The line out was good – safe and competent on their own ball and pleasingly aggressive on defence (who knew that having four tall blokes would make line outs easier). The Brumbies definitely had the edge at the breakdown although this improved in the second half. Maul and goal line defence were awful and poor respectively and their own mauls were ineffective. All of this is fixable with an honest review and had work – so maybe this early bye will turn out to be a blessing in disguise, with Wessels saying they will be treating it as an extension of the pre-season.

The real worry is the front row. I was perplexed and worried when the team was announced. Ainsley spent his limited opportunities on the Spring tour being towelled up by first class front rows. Against an all Wallaby front row with more on the bench he was always going to struggle – I think he is too small. Not fixable. Tetera Faulker brings a wealth of experience but is also on the small side by modern standards. He is also getting on and is probably in his last season. Ditto on all points for Daley. Erasmus was a puzzling pick up. Which, for me, leaves the prop stocks pretty slim. Talakai and Sa’aga have had a few years experience and really need to step up this year. Fa’amuasili is a tall BIG tighthead who runs like the wind. The recently signed development player Gibbon is unknown to me.

At hooker I think Robbie Abel is a good pick up and with Rangi I think we are well covered until Uelese gets back.

I watched the limited contested scrummaging contests against the Sunwolves last week which all the Rebels combos won easily – but the evidence from Singapore puts that in context. However for my inexpert eye our starting props should be Sa’aga and Fa’amuasili (who I believe has the potential to be the next big thing in Australian propping). I am putting my money on a Sa’aga, Uelese, Fa’amuasili starting front row by the end of the season. All Victorians -that would be a first.

The Wrap: Cooper and Genia go ‘back to the future’ in Super Rugby opener

Thanks for fixing it – could be a bit bigger though.

Super Rugby Round 1 expert tips: Guess who’s back, back again

The Crowd tipping form is not up and available

Super Rugby Round 1 expert tips: Guess who’s back, back again

I agree with all of that TWAS. I reckon that if all goes well Genia will only stay if Cooper stays also – depends what they want to do post RWC – keep hunting the bid money or round out their career somewhere they enjoy with a coach they trust. The early re-signing of Wessels is the Rebels smartest move this off-season.

Could 2019 yield the closest Australian conference yet?

Paul – English was never the “co-captain”. He was the Club Captain and a member of the leadership group – roles he retains for this year. He was just the logical replacement captain when Coleman was not on the field. He has resigned only for this year and if the wallabies do not come knocking I expect he will be off to Europe of Japan. For this reason I expect to see Cotterel take a greater take a greater leadership role this year. DHP has resigned until the end of 2021 so I think he has been appointed as long-term captain with Coleman off to London Irish at the end of the year (apparantly)

Could 2019 yield the closest Australian conference yet?

Somewhere on the Rebels social media accounts there is a video of Jordan saying he expects to a available from round 1. He does not look all that confident though. He had two surgeries – the ACL and a relatively minor shoulder op.

No titles in January, but the Brumbies and Rebels blow out the cobwebs anyway

Welcome back Geoff. Happy New Year and here’s to a very happy new year for all Australian rugby. Not a great start in Hamilton yesterday.

Apart from the one-eyed fan’s desire to see the Rebels win SS this year, sweeping all before them, unbeaten and duffing up the ‘Saders by 50 points in the final, I am really intrigued to see how the Rebels go.

At a WDC end-of- season breakfast a few months ago, there was a palpable buzz around the management and coaching staff there. Not smug or over confident, but a strong feeling that they were taking the next steps to being a truly first-class rugby organisation. The various reviews were complete (including really tapping into the experience and good will of all the other elite sporting organisations in the Olympic Park precinct), action plans defined and implemented (or well down the road) and pre-season well planned and about to start.

As you have pointed out they were really focussing on a few key areas, especially in having both the physical and mental strength to finish of games well – they mentioned the recruitment of a sports psychologist and that they had had Dean Benton in advising on the development of the S&C program. Nick Ryan had done a great job of retention and recruitment in key areas of weakness. They were confident they had the way forward on the cultural side etc.

It seems that the pre-season had gone well, with few injuries. It will be interesting to see who ends up in the final extended squad – there seems to have been dozens of hopeful but unknown faces training. I am really looking forward to the Reds trial on Friday night – well worth the trip and a hotel.

One of the other commenters has picked up the apparent weakness in the front row. Maybe – much depends on Uelese’s availability – but I am expecting Pone Fa’amausili and Sa’aga to step up this year- that would be a home grown front row to savour. Otherwise they should have the cattle to go deep – but we know that is not necessarily enough.

Can’t wait.

The Wrap: Rebels Super Rugby pre-season clicks through the phases

That was supposed to be “woman” not “home”???

The Wrap: All 2018’s rugby highlights and lowlights

Geoff – my favourite concert this year was Robert Plant and the Shapeshifters. Absolutely stunning set topped off when a home up the front urged him to take off his shirt to which he reposted – “F**k off! At my f***ing age?)

Thank for the all the columns this year Geoff – they have been must reads very Monday morning.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

The Wrap: All 2018’s rugby highlights and lowlights

BRV – not kidding about Finnegan. I have heard him speak at a number of functions: very measured in his analysis of the Wallabies strengths and weaknesses; no “I am the greatest ego”; comes across as a good communicator and facilitator; will not take anyone’s bullshit; and last but not least – he is a very funny man who, if conflict arises, will reduce everyone to convulsions and tears on the floor. Job done

The Wrap: What can Australian rugby learn from Grant Fox?

Selection criteria for Wallabies Independent selector:

1. MUST NOT have ever been a Wallabies Head Coach (no Dwyer, Connelly, McQueen etc)
2. Must have been a highly respected Wallaby with at least 50 caps (no Kafer)
3. Must have last played for the Wallabies at least two World Cup cycles ago and for no more than five (no one under 40 or over 60)
4. Must not have a record of being overly partisan (no Kearns, Martin etc)
5. For extra security, MUST NOT have the surname JONES.
6. Must have balls of steel.

Who does that leave, Eales, Horan, Finnegan etc Big Owen for me

The Wrap: What can Australian rugby learn from Grant Fox?

Hi Geoff – if you want a good laugh, read Stephen Jones column reprinted in the Australian today where he ties himself in knots over Lawes not being offside because he did not move until Perenara picked up the ball, while simultaneously implicitly accepting that he was ahead of the last feet while complaining that referees “rarely” pay that offence any more. His confusion is compounded by his assertion that “..not only did Itoje obliterate the two New Zealand locks in all phases…”. One of the great pluses of the The Times going behind a paywall was that I no longer had to read Stephen’s drivel.

Anyway, I have nothing constructive to add on the subject of the Wallabies. As a non-constructive aside, lets just hope that the second half was the worst it can ever get (although I hold dire fears for Twickenham). Thank God we’re not playing Scotland this tour.

The Wrap: Cheika and Jones both losers, but heading down very different paths