The Roar
The Roar

Nick Turnbull

Roar Guru

Joined May 2013







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



Hi Nick,

Fond memories of 84 there. Whilst Alan Jones did a superb job as head coach, he support act in Alec Evans also deserves plaudits for the strength of that Wallabies pack that pushed the Welsh off Cardiff Arms Park.

Jones has his knockers but his selections on that tour were astute. He had plucked Farr-Jones out of second division rugby earlier that year, promoted Lynagh into the team and the selection of Slack as captain were selections that changed Australian rugby for the better.

Furthermore that tour was the first with a Doctor in the travel party, Dr Syd Sugerman. Coupled with Greg Craig these Wallabies were fit and preppy for the tour.

Jones was a motivation expert who benefited from being manager of the NSW team when Peter Crittle coached. That man could play and could coach. Jones would have absorbed Crittle’s mandate of body height, fitness, aggression and running the ball.

All this under the eye of the National Coaching Committee made the 84 Wallabies something special.

How does that blueprint compare today?

The Wallabies forwards need to be accountable and go back to the future for Bledisloe 3

Afternoon Geoff and all,

Busy day here in Brisbane and loving the much needed rain. Like you Lombardi pre-dates myself but he was a simple but effective man. I tend to think he and Fred Allen would find common ground on how to be a successful coach.

Mate I’m a Boston fan far US sports so Celtics, Red Sox, Bruins Patriots etc. mind you I do follow Notre Dame in the college football.

I think the assistants will keep thier jobs in the short term but if the upcoming tour is a flop all bets are off. Where is the National Coaching Committee?

The bloke I understand who has been interviewed for the Chairman’s role is perfect. Head strong, independent thinker with low tolerance for BS. Refreshing!

Wallabies coaching still fundamentally a grey area

Good morning Don & Gatsey,

Thanks for the read Gatsey, I agree with your premise but probably not your suggestions. I don’t think Australia needs Quade Cooper presently, it would an ask to come out of the NRC to take an the All Blacks and steer us to a victory in my opinion. Nor would I entertain the Michael Hooper move to the 13 jumper.

If my memory serves me well I actually think it was Greg Smith who first utilised Stephen Larkham as a fly-half in the second half against Connacht on the 1996 tourhaving played full back in the first half. I have been advocating for some time that Jack Moddocks should be playing in the 10 jumper as beyond 2019 I can see he, Hamish Stewart and perhaps even Andrew Deegan as a ‘smokey’ for filling the 10 jumper but my preference is Maddocks.

Presently Maddocks is getting pushed off the ball in the wide ruck too easily as he often alone. He reminds me a little of a young Drew Mitchell who clearly had the game, but not the strength. That being said Maddocks is being wasted out wide and holding up the progression of the likes of Tom Banks who is a wing or fullback only. If anything I would like to see Maddocks used on this end of season tour as a 10 off the bench, perhaps against Italy.

The other two guys who I could see coming into the team for the RWC is Sean McMahon and Will Skelton. Cheika indicated on Fox during the week that he was keen to get McMahon back, furthermore Skelton 2.0 at a lean 130kg is an interesting prospect. I understand Saracens are keen on re-signing him but he is weighing up a move back home to crack the Wallabies World Cup Squad.

The idea of a Dempsey, McMahon, Pocock back row enthuses me however unrealistic it may be 12 months out. If we were to play a 6:2 split having Tui, (Timu/Samu/Cottrell), Hooper bench coming on about the 55 minute mark adds impact in my opinion. I have no issue with Hooper and Pocock being in the same 23, I just don’t think we are best served starting them both.

I would always try and find a place for Reece Hodge in my team, he is a honest Rob Egerton type with a boot. However the other exciting prospect is Jordan Petaia. Although young he has been playing some very good rugby in the 13 jumper. His defence is solid but he attacks the space in attack which impresses me. One thing I noticed about Jesse Kreil and Jack Goodhue is that they attack the space which gives their teams momentum or a greater opportunity for an offload and ultimatley a scoring opportunity. Something the Wallabies need to do more of in my opinion.

Anuhow its raining on Brisbane, cricket is off so it back to rugby-chat!

The Hooper blooper: Re-form the Pooper and bring back Cooper

A superb display of tenacity by the All Blacks and credit to the Springboks for thier efforts. This match had shades of Wallabies vs. All Blacks in Dunedin 2017! Ironically under pressure coach Cheika remains the only cut international coach to defeat Hansen’s All Blacks twice.

Savea try seals NZ comeback over South Africa

Will Genia is world class.

Captains Michael Hooper and Jim Furyk share a common denominator - both dead in the water

Hi Sheek,

Yes the frustration is palpable. I have faith that solutions will be found as there is good will for the game but folks are tiring of false dawns and rhetoric.

I have a young son who loves the games of rugby and cricket. The level of coaching he gets at rugby is Dad’s and a player from UQ also helps out. Things in our area through local efforts are not too bad. Conversely the coaching he gets at cricket through school is just better organised and in 4 weeks of preseason his game has improved notably. He didn’t want to watch the Wallabies last weekend but did want to watch the ladies T20 Cricket.

As a rugby person I’d love him to stay with rugby but currently cricket is winning the day. Perhaps the level of coaching, perhaps the change of seasons. Who knows, but I’m encouraged when RA advised us back in 2017 Essentially they wanted junior coaches to feel part of the greater effort but to do so there needs to be a real, tangible and coherent presence from the ground up. I’m not sure we are there yet but I hope it’s not far off.

So where is the National Coaching Panel?

Hi Cliff,

Thanks for your reply. Mate I don’t know Rod Kafer, never met him, but at a guess he is 100% committed to his role, as is Raylene Castle. I’m sure in their minds they are doing what they think is right and there are some goods things happening in RA. I don’t think the roll out of the NCP is an example of this.

I think the same of rugby scribes. They do ask hard questions but RA, Journalists, fans alike and of course me, we don’t know what we don’t know, so ask the questions. I’m a big believer in the NCP and want to know why the delay?

I’m a big believer in the game and it’s people in this country and it hurts me deeply to see the current state the Wallabies are in. But there is a solution for each and every problem. Just don’t fear the process of finding them.

So where is the National Coaching Panel?

Thanks Sinclair,

I did read it and it’s a interesting point of view. I’m not in favour of sacking Cheika at this time but his loyalty to a few players and plans is eroding his credibility as coach.

Like any great tactical leader he must display the ability to pivot into a new direction when required. He does not appear to able to accept this, I could be wrong but I’m not seeing it.

I think David Nucifora and Joe Schmidt are a proven combination and would be high on RA’s list as potential replacements post RWC 19.

The question is what do you do with Cheika, Larkham, Grey et al? RA needs to come up with a way of educating exiting coaches and placing them into other roles in the Australian game. We’re jettisoned too much talent in the past and left them out in the cold.

So where is the National Coaching Panel?

Good morning RB,

Rugby Australia appointed Jim McKay to the Reds, not the NCP as the NCP does not actually exist in the format of its predecessor, The National Coaching Committee. That aside I think it a good appointment but there are more issues than just the appointment of coaches to address.

So where is the National Coaching Panel?

Cheers mate.

Wallabies beat themselves on the Gold Coast

Too true. The Wallabies inability to apply sustained pressure, often by thier own doing is not isolated to just last night. Sure there is a skills argument to that but I agree that mental application or lack of it is an issue. Is there an anxiousness in the Wallabies? Absolutely.

Can the Wallabies defend a driving maul? Not as well as they need to. Urgency, body height and attention to detail in this facet of play has been an issue. In attack our lineout is inconsistent that faults in prime attacking positions. I’m far from convinced that our new forwards coach has brought any improvements to our team. That’s the area I’d be looking at first and foremost.

Emotions are high, but a measured response is required. I’m not being over dramatic when I urge Cheika to consider the trajectory he has Australian Rugby on. He must make brutal decisions and the first is ask himself “Are my tactics and selections working well enough to win the World Cup?” If he says yes then he is delusional.

Wallabies beat themselves on the Gold Coast

Agreed. He got cleaned by Kriel not far from where I was sitting, it appeared Kriel just got lower and drove Maddocks off the ball.

Two cheers only for the Wallabies' gritty win over the Springboks

Good morning Spiro,

Absolutely delighted the Wallabies found a way to win, yes it was courageous but not one of skill, instinct or absolute intelligence.

I may sound harsh but I am full of admiration for the Wallabies attitude and without that you have no platform, but Spiro the Wallabies body height in both possession whilst running the ball, but also in the defensive and offensive maul was atrocious at times.

It was about the 51 minute mark for memory with the Wallabies on the attack just inside the Bok’s half. Australia wins its own full lineout yet our 8 were thwarted initially by 3 then eventually 4 Bok forwards. The Wallabies has bodies at all sorts of angles, pushing at all sorts of heights and went nowhere. I love the grit but let’s not mask the Inability of the Wallabies to apply a basic tenant of forward play.

As for tactics, well it was a slippery affair yet how often did the Wallabies put pressure on themselves with dropped ball, yet furthermore rarely, if ever tested the Bok’s with contestable kicking? If the ball was hard enough to catch from a pass surely trying to take it with a Korabiete or Haylett-Petty screaming down on you would be harder?

As for instinct, the only real heads up play I recall was Genia’s burst down the sideline that almost resulted with a try. Not enough of it.

Do you recall late in the second half Folau Fainga’a has the ball in a maul situation yet the Bok’s fell away. Instead of charging on, he turned and got it out to the backs who were marked up on. He may have got a call, but playing on instinct the man had on open field. Opportunity lost.

I’m with you on Jack Maddocks and have been for about 6 months. There are better wingers than him, but he is a footballer who needs the ball in his hands more often. Nice defence and kicking game also.

And yes Toupo to start against Argentina!

Two cheers only for the Wallabies' gritty win over the Springboks

Hi Kane,

I disagree.

Cheika makes seven frontline changes, but baulks at benching Hooper

Good morning David,

Didn’t the great All Black Coach Fred ‘the needle’ Allen, when playing for the All Blacks himself in 1949, offer to drop himself from the team due his lack of form? Even Bodyline architect Douglas Jardine offered to the same during that controversial Ashes tour as he himself was not getting enough runs with the bat. Clearly both men put the team before themselves.

I’m not suggesting Michael Hooper is a selfish person, but he famous self belief is not being realised in results. If there were ever a time he should have excused himself from selection it was for the opening fixture in Sydney. The man was coming off a serious hamstring injury and with no match time under his belt took on the All Blacks. Madness!

I ponder what message that sends to a Richard Hardwick or Pete Samu, that a half fit Hooper is better than a fully fit ‘you’! I tend to think the Wallabies have been stuck in groupthink for some time that their tactics and selections are right to rise to the top. The issue is, they clearly are not and the Wallabies are the last to clock on!

Michael Hooper is not a great skipper and shouldn’t be our starting 7, both roles should be that of David Pocock. That aside I would have Hooper in my 23 as a sub as he clearly is an outstanding footballer who can do some damage and bring impact in the latter stages of the match.

I’d like to see Jed Hollaway taken away on the EOYT and let’s not forget Jack Dempsey who may also get himself on that plane. In any event the Hooper – Pocock 7 / 8 combination should be consigned to the dust bin.

Cheika makes seven frontline changes, but baulks at benching Hooper

Point taken Brett, but can anyone provide evidence that Jed Hollaway specifically was selected for that match because of those reasons? I seem to recall he came off the bench for the ‘Wallabies’ in that match.

RWC bolters are out there, if they’re wanted

So your theory is that he selected because there was no one else. Where did Cheika et al say that?

RWC bolters are out there, if they’re wanted

That’s not the point. You infered he lacked it at Super Level. Clearly the selectors don’t agree.

RWC bolters are out there, if they’re wanted

Must be doing something right, he got selected in the possible v probables match at Leichhardt.

RWC bolters are out there, if they’re wanted

G’day Brett,

After reading Nicholas Bishop’s appraisal of Lukhan Tui as a 6 under the current structures, the jury is still out on Tui as a 6. I would like to think he and the Wallabies will respond accordingly.

However I would look to reform the backrow mindset. Scrap the ‘Pooper’ and employ a genuine lineout option at 8. Enter Jed Hollaway.

Hollaway is my genuine bolter as he can move for a big man, compete in the tight and lose and also the lineout. He is not a lightweight but would require game time in gold sooner rather than later.

RWC bolters are out there, if they’re wanted

Hi Sam,

Perhaps that is a new frontier that can be fleshed out in the SANZAAR? I think it is an ermerging issue that we could be ahead of the curve on. Bearing in mind it would have to be a two-way Street.

The Wrap: A way forward for Australian rugby – how hard can it be?

Good morning Geoff,

Bang on. Might I add a couple of points; I think RA should relax Wallaby selection eligibility if that player is still playing within Super Rugby but not with an Australian team. For example I understand Sean McMahon is playing with the Sunwolves next season, why deny him the opportunity? Perhaps we could draw Mike Alaalatoa into the Wallabies before he gets selected by the All Blacks.

Secondly I’m with you on Club Rugby / NRC. Use the tribalism of that space to bridge the gap between community rugby and the professional game.

The Wrap: A way forward for Australian rugby – how hard can it be?

I guess we will.

I like the guy. I would just like him to accept some help for him to realise ‘our’ goal.

Roll the dice on Larkham for the 2019 World Cup

Some very fair points. I’m with you that Cheika needs help with selections and tactics. I’m differing on his inability to be flexible on fixing those issues.

However I’d rather a coach with the experience of beating the All Blacks twice, than one who has not. Build on what we have.

Roll the dice on Larkham for the 2019 World Cup

Hi Moa,

Fair question. Answer, I had the pleasure of being at a Wallaby training recently and they appeared united and happy as a group which is consistent with what you hear out-and-about.

Roll the dice on Larkham for the 2019 World Cup