The Roar
The Roar

Nick Turnbull

Roar Guru

Joined May 2013







Writes on rugby for RugbyPass. Can be followed on Twitter @ArgyleSport.



Good morning Nick,

Great read. I agree with you regarding Hamish Stewart;

Why picking the best players does not always make the best team

NZ wanted a way to get SA back into the international rugby and saw RWC as a vehicle but Jenko places too much weight on Lords tournament as the Australian spark! It was contribUtory but not singular.

I understood the move away from the SCG as Rugby was going to play second fiddle to the trust. It didn’t work out in the end but when rugby moved back to the SFS it did so for a one off capped price. Not good business!

Professional rugby is not the problem

Hello, Gents (Sheek inc),

I’ve really enjoyed your comments and Muglair I think you have been a breath of fresh air on the The Roar. However, your statement “While those attitudes might not have been prevalent in the 80s, the game was still run by a bunch of ivory tower guys who just kept running the game the same way it had been for decades before. They enjoyed status, influence and power and resisted all change.” would be applicable to Northern Hemisphere administrators only.

Whilst David Lord’s attempt to get the game into the professional arena was admirable it was not the ‘lightbulb moment’ that lit the fire of the professionalism progression, nor was it the genesis of the World Cup concept but I deeply respect Lord for his vision.

Australian and New Zealanders were thinking of such concepts at that time. They fought hard to get the IRB (World Rugby at the time) to actually get a RWC up and running. Thanks to Dannie Craven of SA, the French and Keith Rowlands of Wales the British block was splintered. Rowlands took some convincing but the Scots, English & Irish block were dragged along.

Roll onto 1995 and again it was predominantly Australian’s who drove professional rugby be it the Packer camp or the Murdoch camp. It is such a paradox that Australia has had such a hand in the advent of open professionalism, yet we have dwindled since 02 and not really experienced stunning success despite being drivers of the professional game.

Good discussion those gents – thankyou!

Professional rugby is not the problem

I reckon Judas would have been a non-tackling winger, who would have worn head tape and gloves. Probably had flouro sandals too!

Reds trio terminate contracts with Reds and Rugby AU

How did that work out for him?

Reds trio terminate contracts with Reds and Rugby AU

Which Coast?

You know Berrange?

When we were kings: Is there still room for rugby’s Quade Coopers?

Morning Rhino,

Are you suggesting HH never missed a tackle in his channel or that a bit of high veldt hyperbole?

Great player, and good call.

Butch James was another physical Springbok 10, but I think he and Owen Farrell has the same tackling coach at some stage. Venus de milo perhaps?


When we were kings: Is there still room for rugby’s Quade Coopers?

Hi Nick,

In selecting a fly half nowadays I’d suggest looking at a 10 who is more physical than his predecessors. The game has lost its space and is transitioning from from one of continuity, as in the days of Barry John to Mark Ella to Stephen Larkham, to Now being a game of collision.

I fear the loss of the playmaker who thrives in the unstructured moment as the game is now more based on structured play to structured play with the aim of limiting space for the side in possession.

If Bill and World Rugby are to make changes to how the game is played, space must be a priority otherwise names such as John, Ella, Lynagh, Spencer, Larkham, Cooper, Carter, Barrett, will not have modern contemporaries in the near future.

Did you know Mark Ella was still running around for Randwick in 1989? Imagine turning up for your club match and seeing his name on the sheet. A day to remember I’d suggest!

When we were kings: Is there still room for rugby’s Quade Coopers?

Yeh love it down there. Bit cool mate.

Momentum clearly building behind trans-Tasman solution

Thanks, Scrum.

From my time already in NZ I’ve really only experienced several times. Other times, when wearing Wallaby merchandise I’ve had people stop me for a chat about the game, Wallabies etc.

I also had a Taranaki farmer ask for for a fight. Albeit politely. Not because he disliked me, he just thought it could add to the enjoyment of the evening…

I politely declined. He said he was not the least offended and wished me a good evening but to be wary of Aucklander’s….

Momentum clearly building behind trans-Tasman solution


Momentum clearly building behind trans-Tasman solution


Momentum clearly building behind trans-Tasman solution

I think you make you point Scrum.

I’m actually pretty fond of New Zealand and New Zealander’s on the whole. I actually plan on moving there in semi-retirement I enjoy it so much. Perhaps not forever but maybe for a year or two.

Through our great game, I’ve made a few mates over the ditch. I’m thinking Bay of Islands, Hawkes Bay or Nelson Bay area. I hope to able to watch trans Tasman rugby, cricket etc, take a few walks, drink a few vines and annoy my wife.

Momentum clearly building behind trans-Tasman solution

Ok, so your economy isn’t reliant on tourism. I’ll let Tourism NZ know and the New Zealand Government know they can do without slightly over %5 of their GDP then. I’ll let all the overseas visitors know there is no need to visit New Zealand, they have it covered themselves. Stand down tourist operators old mate here has you covered. You talk of arrogance….

Are you aware of the broadcasting deal NZ is currently attached to? Do you think Bay of Plenty playing Southland will attract those same revenues?


Momentum clearly building behind trans-Tasman solution

“And I have no clue what is left of rugby in the USA.”

This may assist.

“It’s no secret that USA Rugby have been financially f—ed for years,” Kennedy recently told RugbyPass. “It should have happened at least a year ago, if not two years ago when [former USA Rugby chief executive] Dan Payne was leaving. Bankruptcy is what they needed to do.”

Kennedy added: “It is a good thing. I say that with respect to people that have lost their jobs, people that are not getting paid, but it’s a good thing for rugby in the US ultimately. If it cleans up the World Cup bid which is going on right now…anything without USA Rugby involved is a better situation than having them at the table where they swear they are good when everybody knows they are not good. This is a good opportunity.”

There is wider support in global rugby for USA Rugby to emerge from this crisis intact, however. World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper recently told L’Équipe that he hoped that what has happened to USA Rugby “will not break the momentum of rugby in the United States”.

Young adds: “There has been lots of support from other unions, because people realize that if rugby is a success in the US and it takes a hold here, it will be good for the sport worldwide.”

So obviously things are not all tickety-boo in the US but they also appear ready to emerge from COVID19 with plans.

Momentum clearly building behind trans-Tasman solution

What did they find out?

I don’t know. What did they find out?

However, Carlos if you think SANZAAR will be delivering for your union anytime soon I hope you’re a patient man.

Momentum clearly building behind trans-Tasman solution

Good morning Geoff and Brett,

It is an interesting dilemma when you hold the broadcast agreement for a competition that can’t actually be broadcast. Do you intervene legally and demand your seat at the table or do to you assist in fashioning another?

SANZAAR, like most rugby administrations, do not enjoy good public opinion presently and are sliding into obsolescence. Gus Pichot of Argentina as shrewd enough to know his country is primed to participate in the evolution of rugby in the USA, and that is where the money and growth of the game are pointing to. If I were Argentina id pivot away sooner rather than later.

New Zealand itself is in a dilemma as it can produce an entertaining brand of domestic rugby but the critical mass of a small population almost ensures it cant produce the revenue required to finance the game in the Shakey Isles.

For a country whose economy is reliant on tourism, the only tourists they may be getting is Australian’s for the near and medium-term future so any myopic brain dead banter that New Zealand does not need Australia is an argument that deserves a good wipe by the Sorbent.

I am enthused to see Bart Campbell is now on the board in NZ and WR. He has been involved in the game since it went professional, is well respected and a shrewd operator. Whilst the Melbourne Storm has had its issues, it would be hard to argue they did not succeed in an environment not conducive to either Rugby code. I think Campbell had plenty to do with that. I only hope he knows how to navigate the politics of World Rugby.

Momentum clearly building behind trans-Tasman solution

Thanks Geoff.

The Wrap: Unravelling Australian rugby’s unholy war

Good afternoon Spiro and Geoff,

It appears the balance sheet is the issue. I tweeted as much on 24/04/2020. We still don’t know the unaudited loss. Is it $9.4 million or closer to $16 million. Furthermore, how did RA lose those amounts? On the face of it, this issue is an issue that rests with the former CEO and the RA board. Not Fox, not Phil Kearns, not Alan Jones and not any aggrieved person in the broader rugby community.

The Wrap: Unravelling Australian rugby’s unholy war

Richard Thornett.

The ten best union to league converts

I see promise in each of the Melbourne props but they were rubbish against the Sharks. I will say I thought Orr and Eloff were better than Gibbon and Ainsley but they were coming off a low base. The starting props body shape, coupled with poor skills and positioning in the set-up, especially the lethargic pace they bound at ensured they were never really in the scrum contest.

The Brumbies and the Reds should provide most of Rennie's Wallabies

Good morning Spiro,

Being a Novocastrian when I read, ‘Rennie Penney’, I suddenly felt a craving for BBQ chicken…

As a level 2 coach, coaching in a Colts program in Brisbane I can see my club working productivity with the QRU on coach education and development.

On Robbie Deans, I recall opposite. Dingo Deans was adored by much of the media with only the brave few willing to criticise the appointment and reappointment. Great coach who got his opportunity.

Rennie and Penney should be the last of the NZ coaches in Australian rugby

My brother, Jake Turnbull has moved from Houston to Old Glory in Washington. As has my support obviously.

US Major League Rugby enters its third season

G’day Nic,

Interesting read. I submit that England and Ireland have a greater reliance on a direct attack as opposed to Australia who can be more creative which may either commit or overload Tipuric or Navidi early.

I further suggest that if the Wallabies can produce a quality scrum that will keep the Welsh attached for longer, and also a clean lineout that either the Wallabies drive on from or spread quickly to the 13 channel off the top at the back should, in theory, nullify the Welsh somewhat.

Furthermore if they do get bogged, Nic White does have a descent box kick so contestable kicking might play a role.

I’d still play with Pocock to start as he is a greater influence at the recycle than Hooper. I’d also start Lealiifano over Foley as the latter tends to catch the ball whilst stationary making it easier to gain momentum for the defence.

The Wallabies must be accurate and legal at the clean out to draw Tipuric and Navidi into that area. I say this as they are also used by the Welsh attack out wide and by consistently drawing them in defensively it makes it harder for them to operate at width attack off turnovers.

I know Hadleigh Parkes has improved in defence in the past 9 months, but he can have a bad game on D occasionally and I don’t think he was tested by the Wallabies in Cardiff last year. The Wallabies were abysmal that day and off first phase I’d look to overload him.



How will the Wallabies unravel Warren Gatland’s Welsh web?

I’d love too see some recognition of guys like the late Norm Hadley of Canada, Gord McKinnon and Al Charon who were huge for their country.

Whilst the list is one of superb players there were some Cup legends in some of those minnow nations.

The Roar's 50 greatest players in Rugby World Cup history: 15-11