The Roar
The Roar


Roar Guru

Joined August 2015







Former sport blog writer for Massive Magazine - MA Media Studies Freelance Writer Sport Tragic and mad skier - Would like to see Barcelona with Messi play at the Camp - my brother has - lucky bugger.



Roar Guru
Roar Guru

Law reform: Why the mark and maul rules are outdated

The ball is kicked high, the chases are making a great effort and could gain an advantage with numbers inside the opposition 22, oh no, the defending player, sliding along the ground, takes and catch and calls “mark”. It is the game’s most ridiculous and outdated ‘get of jail free’ card.

Roar Guru
Roar Guru

Does Australian rugby need to harden up?

Don’t worry, I can see the poisoned arrows coming my way already… but not so long ago, in the halftime interview during the Rebels game, new Waratahs, coach Daryl Gibson, when asked about his team’s performance, famously proclaimed “Some of that stuff out there was rubbish.”

He wasn’t crash at the start – it took him some time to adjust and the leeway given to defending teams today is far less time than Rogers even got. League players will get hit so hard and fast very few will know how to adjust to the speed of the contact at such short distances.

Can the All Blacks play rugby league?

It’s simple Nick – If the exact professional rules don’t apply for both codes – instead, we get a watered down version for the benefit of the team that does not play that code – then the entire thing is a complete farce and nothing more than a money making exercise as opposed to a genuine contest to see which code can adapt to the other one better. Anything less than that is a load of complete nonsense that proves nothing at all. – Nothing whatsoever – and how many key players will not be in the contest through fear of injury under the guise of “we didn’t think that player would adapt to the other code as well”? Many of the best players may not even be in the game which again proves nothing in the end – but the cash will roll in no doubt about that.

Can the All Blacks play rugby league?

Even if that’s true NVFS, its a moot point really as they earn millions in sponsorship revenue that more than compensates for any salary losses – most union players do not have that kind of financial security or did he contact all his sponsors and say hey don’t pay me during the corona virus? Yeah right! Not that i am knocking them – good on them…and losing 70% of an average Barcelona 1st team salary – let alone Messi’s – the 30% that is left over is still 10 times or even much more than the average Super Rugby player earns…so I hardly think they are doing tough!

The Wrap: The patience of rugby players and fans is about to be rewarded

Well Geoff, true about salary caps about to get lower in sport generally but I don’t think Barcelona dropped Messi’s salary during COVID19 or will anytime soon. Hey just saying! And he earns a reputed 42 million a year in sponsorship alone by god – there’s a few Australian rugby union pay packets right there!
Can you imagine that phone call Geoff – Hi Lionel we are going to drop your salary by 75%!!!???
Mind you Barcelona has more money as club than the GDP of most of Central and East Africa

The Wrap: The patience of rugby players and fans is about to be rewarded

” I don’t think the frequent SR encounters have really enhanced the special flavour, esp over the last few years. Less may be more.”
100 % agree Nick and I think it got washed into Rugby Championship which diminished its edge and especially when SA was struggling to come to terms with many of its best players going to Europe’s and lets be honest, two ordinary coaches who were political appointments and out of their depth and one who held the helm for far too long.
The whole RC is a fiasco. They should bring back 3 test series which have always held more interest in Australia NZ and SA home and then away. When the Lions or any of six Nations sides tour NZ for 3 test series it so much better as a battle over 3 tests back-to-back and on at decent times. The rugby Championship was better as well when NZ SA and NZ all played 3 test against each other – 2 home one away changing each year. It became a watered down competition when Argentina entered – not because of them as team but the schedule became less interesting as a contest. As you say Nick – less is more

Why the trans-Tasman bubble must include rugby

I am not going to get into a debate about who is the better player as one is still very young and the other has more experience – we won’t know that until the end of their careers but obviously playing test ruby does give you an advantage – it’s just the nature of the beast. If Piutau had stayed he would have been in the starting 15 as he would have had seniority over Bridge for a start but on the wing IMO as Ben Smith was too good over those years. Not having Smith at the back at the WC was blunder from Hansen IMO unless there they saw something at training that made them hesitant. But Piutau was just starting to get more leg room in AB’s before he left but was often not in the starting 15 and I think that helped him make his decision to leave – sadly – Both my brother and I are huge fans of Piutau – his best gift is the same most of the standout players – rugby vision intelligence then backed up by immense talent. Very few of greats don’t have both in buckets but every rule has its exceptions..

Why the trans-Tasman bubble must include rugby

The big question is what deos NZ rugby have to gain over what Australia has to gain in Trans Tasman contest – a question that has been asked in NZ recently as well. For example, is NZ rugby going to get better and by that AB rugby as this is core of NZ rugby’s focus. Australia is saying the Force would come back into it if that happened but the Force stretched OZ ‘genuine’ Super Rugby Australian player base and it is hard not to see that happening again.
One big gain is the time zone of all games and Japan has that advantage as well. Japan enters as Nation that had the two world records – and by some distance – for the number of viewers for a single game from one nation 25,000,000 in 2015 WC and a mind boggling 60,000,000 in 2019. Almost the entire population of the UK and the entire population of Australia and NZ twice with about 10,000,000 to spare.
The game is on the rise there big time – that’s an understatement. This is where the big gold will come in the future – it will dwarf the UK and French clubs in years to come IMO and I think they are aware of it just quietly – you’d be dumb not to be. The money already offer there is substantial for their club competition and they have some of the biggest companies in the world residing there for possible sponsorship. NZ and Australia need to dump SA and Argentina and run with JANZ. The massive rivalry between SA and NZ will not change – its too deeply embedded in both nations.
How they strengthen the competition in Japan as they would need at least two sides is another dilemma. NZ may have to say they will only pick players that play in that competition and spread some of their considerable player depth into Japan from the Mitre 10 cup. The interim problem is player drain to the UK and France until the bucks are there. But that could come from joint partnerships between Super sides and club sides when signing players perhaps.
I personally believe their should be second tier comp with relegation at some point as well. These games could be the curtain raisers to the main events – not necessarily at the actual ground all the time but on the networks or a Sunday v Saturday comp . Grand final of one on Saturday and the other on Sunday or something like that. It has huge potential with that ridiculous Japanese market up for grabs – but if they stuff around it could be an opportunity that goes begging.

Why the trans-Tasman bubble must include rugby

Excuse me NVFS – NZ is the only bloody side that defeated SA in the world cup – so yes they deserve to be ranked no2 in the world – period. I bet the next time England and the AB’s meet – and especially if its in NZ – they will defeat England.
England still do not have a consistency of winning against the AB’s and they are yet to prove they can beat them back-to-back in recent times and that goes for SA as well. Let us see NV if SA can hang on to the number one ranking as long as AB’s and have a record of the kind of winning record home and away between cups that the AB’s did and over two WC not just one. Being ranked no1 is one thing- holding on to it for more than two years and beyond is quite another. Lets see how long they hold on to it shall we….then we we know just how good this SA really is.
And let’s see how long England hold onto their no3 ranking or if they can knock the AB’s off no2 after both nations have played tests against other tier one nations.And to argue that a side only has a ranking because they beat another side is utterly stupid argument that I would have thought would come from someone as astute as you NV. The same damn reason ANY side gets ranked either way is because they win or lose against other sides. I mean is that a serious argument? Another way of looking at it is they finished ranked 2 because they defeated SA in the WC, a feat no other side managed to do and rankings are not based on who wins the WC or gets second or third or whatever but wins and loses in games and who they defeat and lose to – which is as it should be. When England defeat the AB’s in back-to-back test and beat them in NZ as the 2003 side did – then I will be singing their praises. How many times have the AB’s defeated England away from home in since 2011 ? How many times have England achieved the feat in away from home in NZ over the same period? I rest my case. The AB’s consistency is far superior away from home and at home in recent ranking points gathering times . They deserve to still hold no2 in the world. Beat us in NZ and back-to-back NV then start making your claims. May I remind you NV that NH side has only ever won a WC once for all hoop-lah we here from the north and how great the rugby is and all that money they spend and all the player poaching they engage in and yet……..just one WC to brag about in the North. the North has the money – but the South completely dominates the WC victories whether you like it or not!
There has also never been an all NH final – but there has been an all SH semi-final in 2015 and and an all SH final in 1995 and 2015. Honestly I wish the North would just admit, they still can’t match the south when it really matters – except in 2003
I do think Australia NZ and Japan should go it alone. Japan has the world record set twice – for the most no of people from one nation watching a game of rugby – a staggering 24,000,000 the UK and SA don’t even come close. That is where the biggest gold in rugby will be in years to come and especially with the powerful business sponsorship sector there. . NZ and Australia need to move on it now.

Michael Cheika calls for Super Rugby overhaul

PC politic s with its head up its rear end as if often the case these days. What next? Messi is banned also with Ronaldo to make is fair and equatable to oppositions who don’t have the money to buy such players – there is an inequality of funds – for pities sake spare us with this weight restricted garbage. Oh what’s this? Second tier nations are to be given a 20 point head start on tier 1 nations to make it fair and equitable to reach the World Cup finals…..and onward we go…..into the land of blithering stupidity and complete and utter nonsense.

A win-win rugby calendar for Australia and Japan… including weight-restricted Tests?

Fine Daniel but IMO the things she got wrong she got badly wrong and at a bad time for the game in Australia but I do agree with Alan Jones that she has been made a scapegoat for some of the clowns on the board as well. Now I am not saying John Eales was one of the clowns but…..John Eales was a great Australian player and captain – a true hall of fame player – but he has not impressed me as an ARU official at all. He was a better commentator on the state of the game before he became caught up with high level sporting politics. It turned him into a PC criticism barometer for any hard critique towards the ARU – the coaches -the players and the board. He would almost always jump to the defense of anyone coming down hard on anyone in those categories on Fox or anywhere else. He was not alone but he was arguably the most visible. If you can’t acknowledge openly that there are major issues and be prepared to open up the sores to heal them then that is a serious problem right from the get go. That has been a major issue in the governing body of the ARU for a long time now. The number of issues they have handled poorly an the last decade both on and off the field is a long list. Shambolic is the word I would use.

Australian rugby has its problems, but Raelene Castle was not one of them

Haha no… 👍 I would not have hired Phill Kearns for a start – good bloke to have a beer with I am sure as he seems to have decent sense of humour but……mind you, controversy, like sex, always sells and every show, including sport, needs it own unique version of the bad guy! I mean I still miss Murry Mexted – his clangers were just brilliant because he was just being himself. Funny as. What people fail to acknowledge about him, was he gave some of the best insights into games and players and he didn’t mince his words – he just called it as he saw it. If he thought someone was ordinary or played crap, he would just say so and why – and why the hell not? . Mexted and his family lived down the road from me in Tawa in Wgtn. He would often work at his dads service station at the time. Great bloke, really funny and dry, and bloody good player IMO – almost underrated in some ways. He was a rugby hard man that’s for sure. So anyway, maybe Kearns has value after all. I get asked quite a bit actually if have anything to do with Fox – such is life. But I have good news Nick, I hear you can pick up your own personal Cruise ship for the price of a bottle of Captains Table!

Will Australia leave New Zealand out in the cold?

I think Rennie will be very frustrated as the players he was watching are no longer playing and he would want to see some under finals pressure towards the end of the season. It doesn’t help him at all with everything that’s going on around him. He won’t want to work with someone like Kearns either if things change at the top – It is unlikely Kearns would be promoting a renewed contract to a Kiwi as national coach when the time comes unless the results force his hand to keep Rennie on. He has made his views on that very clear over the seasons. Rennie has known Castle for some time so they get along pretty well I would imagine.

Will Australia leave New Zealand out in the cold?

They won’t get rid of Castle – at least not for now IMO. Getting rid of your commander when all kinds of enemies are at the gates is never a good move in business and especially when its creditors within the enemies. Has anyone noticed how the CEO steps down or is sacked after at least some of the bad guys have backed off a bit or been successfully stalled? This hasn’t happened yet. And who would want the job in this current mess? You are the messiah if you pull of some miracle but if not?……. Sometimes an interim is appointed until a suitable candidate is found but my god exactly who is that? Castle for me – and this is my observation – seems to take awhile to learn from her mistakes or the organisations mistakes but the buck stops with the CEO. I suspect their is arguably too many wannabe generals within the ranks as well which may have – and still possibly are – undermining her command but the rats and would be assassins always come crawling out in numbers when an Empire starts falling apart and Castle must know – indeed, does know – that goes with the territory of a CEO, male or female. You shouldn’t step up to the plate if don’t know what’s coming when the ground beneath begins to open up. But she is well smart enough to understand that. But for now, I would surprised to see her stood down and she may yet survive but that will take some clever business game plays on her part.

Will Australia leave New Zealand out in the cold?

I think Kearns would be the worst think to happen to Australian rugby if he was appointed – he has said many things over the years that are subsequently proven wrong – that itself is scary enough. He enters the arena with openly expressed, and at times, unhelpful prejudices in various aspects of the game and towards some oppositions. He continually harps on about the money trail in the ARU, like where and to whom it going, but never once offers much of a financial alternative.

On the other hand, I think Ralene Castle was a little out of her depth when she first came in and got exposed a few times. The ridiculous autonomy she continued to allow Cheika, let alone allowing him to continue after one of the worst records in a single year by an Australian Coach in 2018, all be it, she insisted upon some additional selection staff, showed a lack courage to make the big call when it needed to be made.

I also think the entire Folau affair could have been handled a lot better and been dealt with quicker. Castle failed in her duty of care to the game because she allowed the affair and the ensuing debate to permeate the atmosphere of the sport for far too long.

These appointments should be about the best person for the job, in the best interests of all those in that particular workforce – men and women – who need that person to do a bloody good job – period. It should have absolutely nothing to do with progressive politics but what is the best decision to progress the business and mechanics of the game in Australia or anywhere for that matter. Appointing someone to appease political agendas and lobby groups is by and large, plain dumb and dumber.

Castle, unfortunately for her and in fairness, ruled over the game when a coach was in charge who demanded autonomy in everything Wallabies; subsequent ordinary Wallaby win loss ratios against the best tier one nations; she inherited a sliding financial platform; the Force saga that seemed to linger and linger; serial poor performances in Super Rugby and especially against Kiwi sides which seems harder for Aussies to stomach; a conflict between the mythical Australian way of playing rugby and the demands required to consistently win at the highest level in the current game until it was too little too late; a head coach who dumbfounded everyone by admitting he never concentrated on the kicking game of the Wallabies and boy was that costly; an era plagued by key player defections to overseas clubs; player pay disputes; then along came the Folau affair which engulfed the game for too long; and then the final nail in Australian Rugby’s crucifixion – COVID-19. I keep thinking which Rugby ( maybe Roman?) Soldier will throw the spear to put it out of its misery?

Will Australia leave New Zealand out in the cold?

Yeah social isolation Pk except if you are a teacher huh?

The Wrap: Revealed! The real reason why the Wallabies bombed out of the World Cup

Agreed Nick, and Ben Smith should have started as you say but I think we will see a very different looking AB side when they do play internationals which might be next year at this rate. One reason is obvious – players have left – but there are seriously good players that have come from the Mitre 10 cup this season – Auckland IMO have been the main beneficiary. One of the best packs in the comp without question and it is a shame about the virus for them, especially after too many years of under performing. England, I think will be like the rest of world rugby – rusty and underdone by the time the next international comes around unless it is next season of course. On a side note, keep an eye on Reiko Ioane at centre for the Blues – the position he has always wanted to play – he is developing into and very dangerous 13 for Auckland and embarrassed more established and highly ranked defensive 13’s this season and his D is getting better every game there. England’s biggest issue – like their football side – has always been more mental than ability. Almost a lack of belief when they are in trouble at times and we saw this in the final against SA. The 2003 side did not seem to have this issue for some reason – stronger leaders and perhaps even a more empowering coaching style. Is it me, or when they play well they seem to play as real ‘team’ but when things start to go pair shaped there seems to be too many generals on the pitch and cohesion starts to waver causing errors and defensive brain fades. Just an observation.
My dad, who as you know was a coach, used to called that dynamic leadership collapse causing distention. In his opinion, an early sign, unless for a genuine reason, was the early replacement of certain players in key leadership roles by the coach illustrating to him that the panic button had been hit in the coaching box. As he used to tell me, this can happen even before a game in team selection – both the AB’s and England suffered one, or both of these problems in the last World Cup IMO when it mattered and with Australia under Cheika, it became endemic causing all sorts of leadership and game issues.

What's wrong with Eddie's England?

PK I think this was inevitable and the NRL has just asked the Warriors to stay in Australia – as they are here this weekend – so they don’t have to cancel games in NZ and so the Warriors can still play their games, but the Warriors players are divided on this as they have families in NZ that the NRL clearly don’t give a flying toss about, only the money they will lose.

Super rugby was always going to be a problem as global travel would become an issue and the Rugby Championship as well. I suspect you can kiss goodbye to internationals as well this season which will make Wallabies and AB selection interesting even if it does go ahead. And PK to be fair to SANZAAR ,the current NZ government announced this with little prior warning so it has caught everyone on the hop.

NZ will still play rugby as they have a strong domestic competition but the major sporting bodies in the US have just announced all games are suspended until further notice. Peoples lives are more important than sport and as they said in the US , if you still play the games on TV people will replace the stadium with large gatherings in bars who will, without doubt, try to capitalize by promoting it on big screen TV in the bars and also people will have gatherings in their homes so cancelling it stops this from happening. Sure, not 10-20,000 people but it only takes One person to give it to plenty and then the domino effect does the rest.

I do think Arden knew she would end Super Rugby and any other sporting travel make no mistake on that and it was no doubt in the plan as it would stop fans travelling as well. By the way, I am no supporter of the current NZ government and have never had much time for the NZ Prime Minister as IMO she loves to take opportunities to political grandstand, but they may have this one right – dare I say it.

The TV Networks will no doubt pay up to sustain the game and players but compensation will have to made on the next Broadcasting Deal – after all, the death of the game long term,hardly works for them either.

SANZAAR makes the call on Super Rugby season amid coronavirus crisis

“…ten penalties, just like the Chiefs…” that is one every 8 minutes Oliver…both sides had poor discipline IMO but the Tahs too often came at the worst time in the 2nd half. You don’t want to be conceding 10 penalties a game – hard not to in SA however as the stats showed last year!

Super Rugby: Five talking points from Round 6

No but they scored the try of the match early in the 2nd half IMO – a long range cracker

How the Waratahs' youngsters are making a difference

Well that was pretty predictable really at Twickeham and after the performance of both at the WC, England started as favorites and ended up being so. Best try was from Wales though but not nearly enough until England went down to players.

England beat Wales 33-30 in Six Nations

Yes some of the experienced players were not crash but the side was guilty of poor reads, poor discipline, poor tackling, and dreadful tactical nous in the second half. The Chiefs and their coaching staff out smarted the Tahs in the second 40 and that is a worry for the Tahs. The Chiefs backs just seemed to have more ambition and and industry and thus found holes all over the place. And is it my imagination or has Hooper not as influential this season as he has been?

How the Waratahs' youngsters are making a difference

The Chiefs might think differently this week! Tahs totally outgunned and outclassed in what was technically a home game… They have a way to go one has to say…This week, so far anyway, it was the Reds against the Crusaders away that impressed me the most. They have some good young talent and you have to like their 10 the way he attacks the line but his goal kicking was dreadful to put it mildly. While not bringing home the bacon, so far they have shown signs they could develop into a very good side. Very good pack and went toe-to-toe with the Crusaders and they have some threats in their backline. I think they will finish behind the Brumbies this season and who knows, maybe better than that is if – and I say if – they keep improving. But the game was in the balance with 3 minutes to go. The Crusaders were just more clinical in the D and attack at crucial times. Hats off to the Reds they played very well and at last seem to be gelling in places they weren’t before.

How the Waratahs' youngsters are making a difference

possibly, it was ambiguous, I will give you that

Five key questions ahead of the Boxing Day Test

The test came down to one strong batting performance from Australia in the first innings – they were not so crash themselves in the 2nd innings and it had absolutely nothing to do with hitting out for runs which they certainly were not doing.
A strong win in the end but Trent Boult will significantly boost the kiwi attack and the Kiwis had just come off a road of pitch in Hamilton and struggled to adjust to the bounce of Perth as did Australia in the 2nd innings quite frankly.
They thoroughly deserved their victory but they would do well not to read too much into just yet. Astle is at least a more attacking bowler than Santner. Sure he not in Lyons class but he may more to say than some people think and he can genuinely turn the ball and has very good wrongún that is almost a slider delivery both example on display in this clip…. There are reasons for his recent record – he has had a niggling injury for a start,,,why don’t you look at his overall 1st class record where he has taken 331 wicket at an average of 32 in a country that is a graveyard for many spinners on 80% of the wickets where it rarely turns much even on day five. Nathan Lyons average in 1st class cricket is nearly 35 with 551 wickets but his average is better in tests at 32. I am looking forward to seeing Astle play and hope they pick him. I have never been a fan of Santner at test level. I hope they drop him but sadly, his one and only century against England will probably save him but shouldn’t. Astle is a better defensive batsmen as well.
I agree with your criticism of Santner 100% but think you may underestimate Astle’s ability as a spinner. He is a hell of a lot better than Santner IMO.

Lyon gives Australia a massive edge over New Zealand

It is no accident that Wagner continues to get top order batsmen out with his short pitched bowling which quite frankly his record shows that he is the best in the world at it bar none and Smith so far has shown that even he is not immune to the skill of Wagner bagging him twice with all his nous in this area….which shows the skill of the guy and his field placements which he often sets himself

Australia in control despite Josh Hazlewood's injury