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Sheikh

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I can understand why the ARU tried to involve the Shute Shield clubs when the NRC was set-up, inviting them to bid for franchises; if it had gone well, there would’ve been the sort of instant rivalry which people have been wanting.

However, it’s a shame that (for various reasons) it didn’t work out and ended up with active hostility from some in Sydney rugby. Hopefully now it’s Country and City the remaining detractors will be won over, as there is plenty of upside to the competition.

I agree with Debreczeni above; more chances to play together, along with generating a wider player base than just the SR academies, and we can generate more players nearly ready to make the step up to the next level. The gap between amateur club rugby and professional Super Rugby is too wide these days – it’s only the rare star who can bridge it, and if they don’t make it then you are left with a failure who is on a full professional contract.

But given a season or two in the NRC with professional coaching and year-round training and support for those 100 or so guys who’ve been promoted from amateur club rugby, and you can spend longer identifying who has, not just the talent, but the drive and smarts to make it in a professional set-up.

Five reasons to get excited about the NRC

Do you reckon the crowd will be bigger for the Randwick v Argentina game at Coogee Oval than the Wallabies v Samoa at Parramatta?

Samoa Test: Are combinations more important than game time?

I’m not sure if he’s still like this, but Pocock used to be able to train his way to being as good as match-fit (one of the few players who can); so if he reckons he’s 100% he can probably go for close to the 80.

Samoa Test: Are combinations more important than game time?

Playing for GRR squad spots!

Return of the old Sydney jersey the final missing piece of the NRC puzzle

Qld Country haven’t been too bad. 2nd place in the table and finalists for the last 2 years, winning it in 2017!

Return of the old Sydney jersey the final missing piece of the NRC puzzle

After all, the United Kingdom does split it’s team into 3.5 sides; the 0.5 side then combines to produce a combined countries team, not unlike the West Indies in cricket.

Anyone but the All Blacks

On the other hand, sometimes the Wallabies seem to take the “try to offload” instruction to heart and look for off-loads in the tackle when they would be far better suited to tae the ball to ground and recycle. It really just highlights a bit of a lack of rugby smarts in playing to the coach’s instructions rather than playing what’s in front of you.

How the Wallabies are cleaning house under Shaun Berne

The AB’s instinctive reading of the ruck comes, I think, from the Crusaders’ play, and has spread to other NZ Super Rugby sides. I suspect that it may be from McCaw, who taught Read and then others learnt.

How the Wallabies are cleaning house under Shaun Berne

The Rebels had a lot of success at the start of the SR season, but it tailed off.
Whether this was because of the players, or defenses working out a way of beating Berne’s attacking style is another discussion!

How the Wallabies are cleaning house under Shaun Berne

I’m not sure why they keep getting referred to as South Africa ‘B’; Etzebeth, Louw & PSDT I’d have in my starting XV for the Boks, and a host of other starters from this game would make the 23 (eg, de Jager, Jantjies).

Analysing player against player for each position, and even before the match I’d have chosen a majority of South Africans to outplay the Wallabies.

Why the Wallabies were caught short in Johannesburg

At least Salakaia-Loto, at 1.98m, is tall enough to be a lock.
Hanigan is only 1.94m, which means he can just about get away with being a lock at Super Rugby level (just about) but these days falls between two stools – too short to be a lock, too slow to be a flanker.

Why the Wallabies were caught short in Johannesburg

Wikipedia has his coaching records.
At Wales: played 3, drew 1, lost 2 (took over mid-way in the 2006 6 Nations, I think)
At Scotland: played 16, won 5, lost 11 (2013-2014: 2 x 6 Nations and a November tour)

Why the Wallabies were caught short in Johannesburg

It took me about 60 minutes to work out Kuridrani was even on the field!

Wallabies player ratings from Rugby Championship opener vs Springboks

Last WC Cheika was a fresh coach who took a team further than they really deserved with a simple game-plan.

This WC Cheika’s using the same game-plan which people have worked out how to combat.

Michael Cheika once again misses the mark after Wallabies loss to back-up Boks

Can you pass on the details of your dealer? I want a bag-full of whatever you are smoking 😉

Michael Cheika once again misses the mark after Wallabies loss to back-up Boks

Yes, Tupou’s yellow was for an almost criminal act. Tupou was stupid enough to try and meet-out some retribution for a questionable clean-out seconds earlier; but the whistle had been blown! Any act going into the ruck after the whistle has been blown is going to attract the ire of the ref! Tupou to be stood-down from the Wallabies until he learns not to be so bloody stupid. He *might* be a good prop (for me, his scrummaging still isn’t good enough) but he costs the Wallabies 10 minutes of 14 v 15 more often than not. We don’t need another stupid player in the side and Tupou’s a walking penalty magnet.

Also, DHP shouldn’t be picked on the wing again. He used to get shoved there because Folau wanted to wear 15; but Folau won’t be wearing 15 again, so DHP can play his proper position of full-back, which he’s actually quite good at. He hasn’t really got the pace for a winger – he can be really quick over a few steps, but that’s then his top speed and he’s not got the higher gears that a winger needs.

DHP’s played lots of positions around the back-line, but isn’t really the utility player that Beale is. Beale is great as an impact player off the bench, and can play in a number of positions, so should be 23 (I wouldn’t start him, he’s great off the bench but a liability in the starting XV), so if Cheika wants Banks at full-back, then DHP shouldn’t be picked. It’s really an either/or situation. Of course, Cheika *could* pick Banks on the wing and DHP at 15, but he seems to think they should be the other way round, which isn’t working.

Six talking points from Wallabies vs Springboks

Jacko might mean that in soccer young players sign 6 year contracts, which is certainly the case.

These contracts can also be terribly one-sided, as the club can holld you to your contract if they like, but can cut you loose if they deem that you haven’t come up to standard.

Rugby transfer fees are usually the buying club paying out the remainder of the player’s contract, so not a ‘transfer fee’ as soccer would see it.

The Wrap: SANZAAR perfects the art of the Rumba when it needs to Tango

“Therefore, if northern hemisphere clubs want that talent they haven’t developed themselves, they should be prepared to pay a price for it.

Yeah, I know, restraint of trade & all that. But wealthy people should remember, that the system that allowed them to get filthy rich, also requires them to give back to their community via philanthropy.”

But sport does set up it’s own rules and doesn’t have to be an exact mirror to society; if I did on the High Street what I used to do on the rugby pitch I’d be arrested for assault!

Soccer manages this restraint of trade argument; players who have a contract with one club can move to another with a transfer fee being paid which is often well in excess of the contract value. The purchasing club can wait until the contract is expired before buying the player, but would then have to wait another year or so before having the player and have to compete with other clubs.
And young players, who a club has invested significant time and effort in, when they get their heads turned by a competitor, a tribunal decides how much compensation the original club receives. Often much less than the original club believes the transfer fee would be.

Of course, the soccer system is far from perfect, and has grown organically over a significant period of time. Imposing some transfer system over global rugby would be a nightmare of defining cases, intransigence and dogmatic refusals to compromise, especially as the entities with the most to lose under the system are precisely those with the power at the moment.

The Wrap: SANZAAR perfects the art of the Rumba when it needs to Tango

A good system can absorb the bumps which losing a players to Europe or injury can cause.

A few years ago someone posted a chart of the Crusaders coaching movements, and it seemed like every new Crusaders positional coach was an ex-player, every new Crusaders head coach was a promoted positional coach (positional caches who missed out went to coaching gigs elsewhere) and Crusaders head coaches only seemed to move on to national team coaching positions. Quite the conveyor belt of talent, with everyone learning from the generation before.

The 20 minutes where the Jaguares’ fairytale got away

Perhaps a better title for the article might be: Istanbul Wingman’s Case for a Second Argentian Super Rugby Franchise 😉

Argentina's case for a second Super Rugby franchise

Brett said that one thing which gets overlooked for dynasty teams – that they’re actually pretty good.

Another thing which gets overlooked slightly is that winning consistently when you are considered the team to beat requires good and innovative coaching. The Crusaders don’t feel they just have to play ‘their’ style of rugby to win; they adapt their style to find and exploit the weakness of the opponents, and they do this better than anyone else.

Swapping styles from ~96% territory in the opening 10 minutes to letting the Jaguares come onto them and stifling their attack; changing their attacking style, etc. It all requires great coaching, and switched on players to adapt on the field.

And if Robinson does get the All Blacks job, you can bet that the Crusaders will have his replacement promoted from within the organisation (or someone familiar with it) as a continuation of their club culture.

There are times where it seems just unfair that the Crusaders keep rolling on! I hope that the Jaguares can generate a dynasty, and we’re left with finals as good as this one every season.

The 20 minutes where the Jaguares’ fairytale got away

24 by my calculation (Mo’unga 10, Goodhue 8, Havili 5, Bridge 1), but even without Barrett the forwards can claim around 430 caps, with three centurions.

There aren’t many sides who can claim over 450 international caps in a run-on side. (Although I am aware that the 12th placed Waratahs, even without Folau, can put out a team of ~700 caps!)

Six talking points from the Super Rugby final

I had the good fortune to meet with the bloke in the bucket hat after a pre-season match in Darwin between the Brumbies and Force (2012). On a pub crawl after the match, we ended up in a bar with Fisher and Angus Cottrell (quite what the Force player was doing drinking with the Brumbies coach was something we speculated on).

But Laurie was charming, very knowledgable and funny, and quite prepared to chat and spin yarns with a group of opposition fans, especially if we were buying!

Ever since I’ve been a fan of his, and his sides usually seem to punch above their weight – a sure sign of good coaching and players playing as a team rather than a group of individuals. I’m not sure I want Fisher to work under Cheika, as he may get tarnished by the association, but he should certainly be considered for a role under the next coach. That is if he can be persuaded to leave his beloved Brumbies!

Brilliant Brumbies must be rewarded at the Wallabies selection table after superb quarter-final

28 games, plus 3 finals = $155. Do I get naming rights for that?

The Wrap: Folau initiative sparks plethora of new ‘Go Fund Me’ pages

OK. I couldn’t provide less promotion of the NRC than has been done for the past couple of years, surely?

The Wrap: Folau initiative sparks plethora of new ‘Go Fund Me’ pages