The Roar
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sheek

Roar Guru

Joined May 2007

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A former rugby lock, cricket no.11 bat and no.10 bowler, and surfboat rower. A fan of the major team sports in Australia.

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Roar Guru
Roar Guru

When is an Aussie really an Aussie?

Ben Ryan, the English coach of the Fijian rugby sevens gold medal winning team at the Rio Olympics, caused quite a stir recently with his caustic observations of how the Pacific Islands were being effectively ‘stripped’ by the major rugby union powers.

You wouldn’t know what my reasons are. You merely assume. And I have no inclination to enlighten you.

How Fox Sports has been cheating itself and rugby fans

Ed,

Yeah, I do love The Australian newspaper. But if/when it goes I’ll find something else. We’re not spoilt for options these days.

How Fox Sports has been cheating itself and rugby fans

I prefer not to give Fox Sports my money.

How Fox Sports has been cheating itself and rugby fans

mz,

The Wallabies are an ordinary team, despite what the rusted-on fantasizers might wish to believe. But they will still be too strong for Fiji.

It’s not beyond the realm of possibility for the Wallabies to make the final 4, which doesn’t say much for the overall standard of international rugby.

Because they are indeed, an ordinary team.

Will England rule the world in 2019?

mzilikazi,

I understand why you’re saying.

However, from memory, England were strong in 2016/17, before falling off the perch a bit in 2018. Now they’re back to their best again.

So the world cup organisers were certainly aware of England’s strength back in 2016/17.

Anyway, it is what it is, & each country must deal with the draw they are dealt.

Will England rule the world in 2019?

Nick,

In some respects you wonder if world rugby is going backwards, with the talent & resources being concentrated in fewer & fewer countries.

Romania were a potential power back in the 1980s, followed by Canada in the 1990s. Both have now regressed.

Who can forget Samoa of 1991 & 1995, those days are gone. Fiji can still thrill at 7s, but their 15s lack overall quality. Australia has slipped off the pace.

Despite playing with the ‘big boys’, neither Argentina nor Italy are showing any sustained, spectacular success.

So, if each world cup comes down to NZ, England & maybe SA, plus the occasional puff from Australia, Wales & France, how is this good for the world game?

The cynic in me has always believed that while rugby administrators like to trumpet the game is played in over 100 countries around the globe, true power & success must always reside with the original ‘Big 8’ – England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, NZ, SA & Australia.

There are some within WR who would like the power & success to be even more narrowly distributed. How is this narrow-mindedness good for the development of rugby?

Will England rule the world in 2019?

Nick,

No, I don’t discount Ireland, but I just query their overall depth, strategy & tactics. To win the world cup I think you need to bring along something of the unexpected.

I think Ireland are too predictable. Certainly agree SA & Wales are in the mix. Unlike Ireland, they can possibly do something of the unexpected.

Will England rule the world in 2019?

The netball girls are also mostly good sorts. Can I still say that?

Will grassroots and professional rugby ever embrace each other?

Nick,

I’ve been watching the RWC since 1987 & a lot can change in 8 months, or even during the tournament itself.

But for now, only two teams can realistically win the 2019 world cup, England or NZ.

Will England rule the world in 2019?

Nick,

Either England or NZ will win the world cup. Unless I’ve read the structure wrongly, both England & NZ will meet in a semi-final, assuming they each top their pool.

This is poor planning by the organisers that a semi-final might be the final everyone is expecting. Of course, England might try to fluff finishing first but that would be a stupid thing to do.

Just ask their soccer brethren about that.

Will England rule the world in 2019?

This is pure nonsense. You talk up Paine before shooting him down.

You sound like one of those football club board members: “The coach has our full support”, before you knife him in the back.

I’m old fashioned. You pick your keeper on keeping ability first. Batting is a bonus. Paine is the best keeper in Australia. He’s also averaging 35 career batting average, second only to Gilchrist.

There’s a reason why the selectors are dragging their feet on recalling Wade, even as a batsman. When he was previously our country’s keeper, & he had two stints in the job, he didn’t score enough runs & his keeping was scrappy.

Be grateful we have Tim Paine. He won’t be around forever, as he turns 35 at the end of this year. Enjoy him as our keeper/batsman/captain while he’s able to give it his best shot.

Put Tim Paine in the Order of Australia, but not the Ashes squad

Reply to Jameswm, that is.

A golden opportunity: Don't pick Smith and Warner

James,

I think Paine is a gem, not only as a player & captain, but even more so as a person, & we are so lucky to have him at this time.

I think most of us like our sporting stars to have the kind of character & integrity we admire, & our kids can aspire to. Paine ticks pretty much all the boxes, including a drop-dead, gorgeous wife!

A golden opportunity: Don't pick Smith and Warner

James,

Your comments are ridiculous. Once a person has served time for his crime, he is entitled to be released back into society & given another chance.

Lifers are people who have committed the most vile crimes & should never be released. But those on lesser charges are entitled to another chance.

It is the same with cricket. Pretty soon, Smith & Warner (& Bancroft) will have done their time & are entitled to be welcomed back into the cricket community. Indeed, they may come back better people than they were before.

We all make mistakes in life, all of us. It’s how we learn our lessons & recover from our mistakes that will eventually define us.

And as one or two others have suggested, there were plenty of people higher up the chain who egged these guys on to be the rottweilers of the Australian cricket team.

A golden opportunity: Don't pick Smith and Warner

PP,

Your thoughtful comments require many more responses, but perhaps everyone is just over these topics. I wasn’t going to respond at all, but felt you deserved someone to break the duck of your article.

I thought I once knew the right structure, but I’m struggling to care anymore, & another generation of people with entirely money driven views are holding the ascendency.

The reality is that money drives every professional sport, yet amateurs still make up the majority of player participants.

In association football, despite its obscene wealth at the top, the sport seems to have found a way to manage both the professional & amateur arms. Australian football also seems to have found the right mix.

In NFL, as far as I understand it, there’s not much else to do if you don’t make one of the 32 franchises. NFL is the ultimate glory or bust dream. It seems American football is such a brutal sport, people don’t want to play it just for the love.

A similar argument might be put forward for rugby league.

I feel the hierarchy of domestic structures in Australian rugby shouldn’t be difficult to work out or attain. But unfortunately, people with their own agendas have torn it this way & that.

I think Australian rugby & southern hemisphere rugby, had it mostly right back in 1995, the year before professionalism. Australia had only two senior provinces which they obviously retired to build on.

The other good thing was the creation of The Rugby Championship, although a Pacific islands team should be part of the thought process.

Back then, the Super 10 was the equivalent of a Champion’s Cup, with provinces qualifying via their domestic comps. It was still the best structure in my view.

At the grassroots level, you progressed from juniors to secondary schools. On leaving school, you had a choice between the aspirational district premier rugby (today’s pros) pathway, or the recreational subbies & regional (today’s amateurs) pathway.

That’s the best I can do at present. I hope you can get other responses.

Amateur senior rugby has deep roots but may wither on the vine

Fortunately you’re the last person I feel any desire to justify my comments to.

The Wrap: What’s the real lowdown with grassroots rugby? Part Two

Yeah BBA,

I hear you. But the general statement by Geoff is true, there is a huge mistrust of our leaders across many fields, not just sport.

Sure, we might be living in a more complicated environment, but the usual human traits, besides the ones I mentioned still exist – hubris, confirmation bias, inertia, vaccination, vacuousness, malpractice.

The Wrap: What’s the real lowdown with grassroots rugby? Part Two

As Gary Player famously said, “the harder I practice, the luckier I get”.

If the VFL/AFL were lucky, they also worked hard to achieve their success. Not everything they’ve done was successful, or even right, but it has been mostly so.

The Wrap: What’s the real lowdown with grassroots rugby? Part Two

Geoff,

Another excellent read & thorough investigation. I admire super troopers like yourself who continue to keep the flame alive. I’m struggling to remain a believer.

Re point 1, “It is no easy task to turn around decisions once they have fundamentally changed the fabric of the spot”.

Sadly this is so true, & one of my enduring fears. Murdoch & SANZAAR have changed the landscape in a bad way (my opinion), although the players no doubt enjoy the extra remuneration.

Getting back to a 1995 domestic structure, which was excellent (again, my opinion) is now probably impossible.

Re point 2, you would know I’m one of those making that call. Furthermore, I’m also one of those suggesting perhaps we DO need to move backwards before we can move forward again, if indeed Australian rugby does move forward again.

Re point 9, “Australian society is experiencing an unprecedented period of breakdown in institutional trust, and an increasing tendency for people to rail against leadership”.

In my lifetime I’ve never seen so many self-serving, greedy, values-less, incompetent people who choose to lead us, but are either unwilling or incapable of competently doing so.

The Wrap: What’s the real lowdown with grassroots rugby? Part Two

When he looks back after the 2019 RWC is over, Bernie will be relieved he wasn’t part of the Wallaby set-up. So, so relieved.

Wallaby fans expecting an end to the carnage of the past 12-odd years, sorry guys, it’s going to continue for at least this year as well.

Cheika played all his trump cards back in 2015, he doesn’t have any magic cards left in his kit.

Predictable Ireland bore themselves into a shock defeat by England

Enjoyable read Spiro,

I guess the good thing for Ireland is that they can only get better!

In any case, I don’t rate my ancestral brethren to win, or even make the 2019 RWC final.

I think NZ & England will play the final, with South Africa the spoiler. It looks pretty black & white!

Wales & Ireland are possible semi-finalists, no better than that. Scotland might be a smokey.

Unless there is a dramatic improvement that is unseen at this point, the Wallabies won’t progress past the quarters.

Predictable Ireland bore themselves into a shock defeat by England

Thanks Nick.

Why rugby is moving towards league

Thanks Nick,

I’ve certainly read reports of the bleeding from French & English clubs. But on the surface, nothing seems to change. The clubs charge on regardless.

I’ll believe it when I see it!

I’ve also been told the cricket BBL is overpriced & expensive to run & will eventually burst its bubble. I’ve been waiting about 8 years for that to happen.

And about 5 years for SANZAAR to realise their current super rugby model is severely flawed & needs to be scrapped, or severely truncated.

A lot of people might love the corporatisation of sport, especially the youth of today who get paid to play it.

But I loath the way the purity of sport has been corrupted & stunted by excessive greed. Sport doesn’t have to be so greed driven.

I now view my two favourite sports of rugby & cricket as historical subjects. The less I enjoy the present, the more I live on & enjoy my memories of the past.

Why rugby is moving towards league

Soapit,

Was it you who said to Nick elsewhere here, “never say never”?

And now you’re telling me, “It’s just not going to happen mate”.

I rest my case…..

Why rugby is moving towards league

Nick,

With due respect are you forgetting what is happening in France & England? And Japan?

The money the clubs there are offering players is so ridiculously obscene they are deserting their countries in droves for the riches of greener fields elsewhere.

And rugby can’t do anything about it. Apparently.

No less an authority than Geoff Parkes tells me this. Even if RA wanted to do something, it can’t. I totally disagree with this view, & believe that RA simply doesn’t have balls.

Oh sure, it’s got plenty of rugby balls, but very few gumption & grit balls.

If it wanted to, RA could introduce things like country transfer fees, & fees to clubs that originally developed the talent, plus maybe salary caps & drafts.

As for calls of no “restraint of trade”, who believes this anymore?

In the business world, it happens everywhere with millions of workers in Australia & billions around the world, having their salaries deliberately suppressed, while executives push their own remuneration packages into the stratosphere.

Anyway, if RA continues to do nothing, they won’t have an international game to speak of. The world will be run by French & English premier clubs.

Why rugby is moving towards league