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Who Needs Melon

Roar Guru

Joined February 2009

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The Wrap: Is this D-day for Michael Cheika or same old, same old?

I reckon he’d just draw a face on the wall. Point to it with his golf club. And walk out.

The Wrap: Is this D-day for Michael Cheika or same old, same old?

Yeah, not that he’s got much to do with RA any more but interpretation of this comment by O’Neill is key: “The health and wellbeing of Australian rugby relies inevitably and conclusively on the success of the Wallabies. The current state of the Wallabies’ performance, and therefore Australian rugby, needs urgent repair on and off the field”. That’s very much a position statement I think you’d hear from current RA administrators.

My view on this is that the statement may be true… but the Wallabies are like the flower on the top of the tree. It might be what everyone comes to look at… but the flower only survives if the tree survives which means good soil, nutrients, etc.

For too long it’s seemed like RA has put a bubble around the flower and vacuum-sealed it in a desperate attempt to keep it preserved. The tree underneath has wilted away, roots shrinking, leaves falling off but it’s seems like none of that is important to RA because they’re focused on the flower.

Australian rugby can turn this corner, but only if it wants to

Geoff, yep, unfortunately that was my last sentence and what everyone has picked up on but whether our coaches need a stint overseas wasn’t my main point. My main point is: Who is the last great rugby coach Australia has developed?

We’ve heard recently calls from some to bring back Dwyer or Jones or McQueen on consulting basis or whatever. That goes to show we’re stretching back a LOOOONG way to find people we consider decent coaches.

If our flow of talented rugby player players has slowed to a trickle, our flow of talented rugby coaches seems to have dried up completely. The later of course has a massive impact on the former.

The Wrap: What can Australian rugby learn from Grant Fox?

Key sentence: “But probably the key aspect is coaching. We should never underestimate how critical the depth and quality of coaching is to New Zealand’s success”.

THE key aspect.

Unless we have a production line that’s producing good coaches (as well as good players), we’re failing. Look at who is being most mentioned as options to replace Cheika. White and Wessels.

Even our “home grown coaching talent” all seem to have to do stints overseas to be considered serious candidates.

The Wrap: What can Australian rugby learn from Grant Fox?

That may well be the case. But maybe he also said “Look, I don’t want this to become a media circus” and got cold feet when he saw what was happening. Who knows? Regardless, nobody here can envisage a scenario that exists where this isn’t anything other than a total botch.

Cheika safe for now as RA rule out play for White

Yeah, something isn’t right here.

If RA were just worried about appearances, they would have been FAR better off just coming out and saying they are keeping all options available and looking to the future – even post World Cup. It looks FAR worse to just cancel the meeting.

If RA were threatened by Cheika then surely they would have told him the same thing – i.e. said “you can’t tell us who we can and can’t talk to”.

If Cheika threatened to walk immediately unless they publicly cancelled the meeting, they’d have been better off accepting this outcome than be bullied into cancelling.

The only way this seems to make and sense to me is if WHITE said it’s off. And that would be an understandable stance for him to take. After all, who’d want to join this farce at the moment? If White said he didn’t want to meet any more then MAYBE RA might announce the meeting was cancelled and do this in a way to try to save face a bit?

I dunno. Something ain’t right.

Cheika safe for now as RA rule out play for White

I wonder if there’s a few that will read the headline and not the article and jump on you for (per the headline) seemingly defending Chieka.

Fionn put it nicely as “Removing Cheika, while not sufficient to fix Australian rugby, is necessary to fix Australian rugby”. In other words, just because replacing Cheika by itself may have very limited impact, the fact we aren’t fixing ALL the problems shouldn’t stop us fixing one of them.

The danger is going to be in people that this replacing Cheika WILL fix all the problems. And thinking no further steps need to be taken. If replacing the coach is all that’s done it will be nothing more than a very temporary (possible) uplift.

Did I read something about RA withdrawing funding for schoolboys rugby? This is the sort of thing we’re going to see now. When a body is in mortal danger, it will sacrifice extremities to keep the core going for as long as possible. It’s been clear for ages that RA sees the Wallabies as its core. They will pay ridiculous $s to keep perceived ‘core’ players and sacrifice everything else. Very short-term thinking.

It's trendy to just blame Cheika, but you'd be wrong

Thanks Nick. Another excellent article.

Someone posted a link to this article on here the other day. Can’t find or remember who so sorry to whoever it was. https://www.rugbypass.com/news/analysis-the-wallabies-dont-seem-to-learn-from-their-mistakes

Whilst analysis pieces like these are awesome, the sad truth is that you DON’T need to have the excellent analytical powers of someone like Mr. Bishop to see the problems. When even us mugs can see time and again that this isn’t working, I cannot fathom why those in the coaching staff continue to double-down on the policies they’ve pursued. 10/10 for sheer bloody mindedness and commitment. Minus several 100 for common sense.

Why the answers for Australian rugby are blowin’ in the wind

The persistence shown by so many bloggers to continue coming back to sites like this and repeat the same warnings and complaints in different words over and over again is testament to how ‘sticky’ many rugby fans are and their passion for the game.

The fact that even such rusted-on fans are turning away is testament to how badly rugby is being administered in this country at the moment.

I’m over it to be honest. For over a decade some of us have been pointing at the hole in the hull and trying to alert the captain that the ship is sinking. We’re continually told to ‘have faith’ and ‘belief’ and ‘show support’ and not be naysayers. And keep forking out our money of course.

England loss confirms Wallabies are no closer to RWC success

“But you know, the game hasn’t’t deteriorated enough. These people running the show are impervious to their incompetence.”

Sadly, I 100% agree with this. You wonder just how far things have got to fall before we hit the bottom and see some sort of bounce – some sort of radical change to try to take a different direction. How low will we drop in the rankings? How much do audience numbers have to drop? How long can we operate like this financially? You’ve almost got to admire the sheer bloody-mindedness. Almost.

To save the Wallabies, Clyne, Castle and Cheika must go

Yes, combinations and chemistry takes time to develop.

What else takes time to develop is the ‘feel’ of playing a particular position. Shunting a 10 over into 12 and hoping he does well – despite having very rarely played there (and when he has played there, played with totally different players around him) – is nuts. Similarly moving a guy who has played 12 for yonks into 10.

It’s saying “you’re not playing that well in the position you’re used to – I’m going to solve that problem by putting you into a position you’re even less comfortable with”. Crazy.

Not saying players can never change position. They can – it just needs some method. Like, for instance, trialling them there at lower levels first as a late sub in a game that’s already won, then a whole half, then starting, give some time to make it ‘stick’,…

Combinations and chemistry take time. Why haven't we been patient?

Yeah, I’m going to chip in for a change and join the chorus: This is truly bizarre and you couldn’t do much worse if you just threw all the backline options in a hat, drew them out and assigned them in order.

I can’t fathom the thinking here. Toomua at 10 says seems to say he’d had enough of Foley. But then he selects him out of position at 12. How’s he going to play any better from there?!? Picking a youngster out of position on the wing seems to say we’re just throwing everyone in there and seeing who shines. But then AAC on the other wing? He’s not going to be bringing some wise old game smarts to the table from out there.

Totally bizarre. I’m tempted to tune in just to see how it goes.

Michael Cheika's mixed selections for Italy

Nice video. For reference Matt O’Connor does NOT portray ‘Australian traits’ – I’ve know very senior guys (who I trust completely) coached by him and hear he’s been a total nut job for many many years.

The Hedgehog defends his hedge against the Fox as England host the Springboks

We just don’t have the cattle.

The Hedgehog defends his hedge against the Fox as England host the Springboks

Excellent article! Thanks Harry.

My take is that in years-gone-by the Boks were very much Hedgehogs and this foxishness is a little new to them. But it’s a welcome change – they’re not hedgehogs pretending to be foxes – there’s a lot of fox about the Boks now.

In contrast Australia used to be one of the foxiest of rugby teams but have now become headless chooks. Do they fit into this analogy?

The Hedgehog defends his hedge against the Fox as England host the Springboks

Call me naive but I assumed any professional team would be learning different moves and would practice them to death until combinations became ingrained. I’ve always thought it would be tough for a national coach taking players for a short time who come from different systems and getting them to learn moves and gel in a short space of time. A bit like a Barbarians coach.

The difference is that I thought our national coach communicated with the super rugby coaches so at least when he got players from each team they were reasonably on the same page.

The fact we can pull players from England, France and Japan and slot them straight back into the team means my assumption is fallacy, doesn’t it? And explains why we look like a bunch of headless chooks most of the time.

Michael Cheika’s biggest Spring Tour questions

“There is something seriously wrong with coaching, at all levels of Australian rugby, right up to the Wallabies, that the assembly line of great forwards and backs playing in the gold jersey, has somehow closed down.”

Exactly what I’ve been saying for yonks. It’s not just Cheika. We need to look at the whole assembly line. If we’re not getting the product we want at the end of it, there’s no point just blaming the last man in the assembly line. And I note the assembly line should be producing good coaches as well as good players.

Michael Cheika needs coaching help, because plan A is not working for the Wallabies

Thanks for the article Nick. Again, great piece. I know yourself, Brett, Geoff, etc. offer balanced, constructive observations.

I’m late to the party as usual but can someone remind me how long this experiment has been going on? Looking back, it seems to me to have started when Quade Cooper came onto the scene. No – I’m not bashing Cooper – I’m just trying to work out when this musical chairs approach started.

It’s also funny because I think of guys like Horan and Little. Back then Horan was clearly a 12 and it would have been odd seeing him play at 13 or on the wing. Little was clearly a 13. It would have been odd to see him playing 12. Although I think he played on the wing from time to time? Ditto Campo in the centers (*shudder*). And we had 10s who could tackle so didn’t need to be hidden. Is this right or am I rose-tinting things again?

It's time for the Wallabies to stop the music on defence

Ok…

But aside from the selections, defence, game plan, coaching, positional juggling, tackling, running lines, forward power, team balance, set play, rugby nous, mental toughness, passing and kicking skills… the Wallabies aren’t too bad, are they?

Why were the Wallabies so slow to show up in Salta?

“how many corners have we turned?”

So many we’re just running in a circle, going nowhere.

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

An argument that there was ‘over coaching’ could have been made in the past with coaches of a different style – e.g. Eddie Jones?

The coaching I’m talking about is about getting players able to execute core skills at pace and under pressure. To quote the article: “maneuvers were pulled off at speed and with a sleight of hand that made us gasp, …[players[ ran and handled with a slickness and shape we hadn’t seen before. The ball popped and pinged from hand to hand like corn on a stove”. We don’t seem to be seeing that any more.

Perhaps players are being taught ‘plays’ and just following the routines given them without the nous to read the game and the skills to improvise. I’d call this bad coaching as opposed to overcoaching.

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

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

Nick, a brilliant article – even better than the usual high standard I think.

I’ll accept that whether we were the smartest or not can probably be debated but, you’re right, the Wallabies were a very, very smart team with a lot of nous on and off the field. From the late 80s through the 90s. Which is why it’s so disappointing to see the dumbification that’s happened during the course of this century. A similar thing happened to Australian cricket I think.

Watching the stars from that era I thought they’d all go into coaching and teach another generation the dark arts. Warne his spin, McGrath his seamers, Waugh his patience, Mortlock the inside shoulder, Larkham his running lines and passing ,etc.

Aside from Larkham it hasn’t really happened. This embedding of knowledge, keeping the good and cutting away the bad is what seems to me to really set NZ apart. Wallabies were just as good as the All Blacks in the 90s but the All Blacks ‘institutionalised’ their talent – we seemed to consider ours were just flash-in-the-pan, once-in-a-generation aberrations and now just cross our fingers another batch will miraculously arise.

This is why I’d like to see us invest more in a coaching academy and pay our coaches at all levels vastly more. Get the best coaches from school level right up to super rugby. To do this we’d have to pay our ‘top stars’ less and, yes, see them leave these shores. I know I sound simplistic but in doing this I really think we’d have a much better chance of future success.

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

A brilliant article and the first comment is a whinge about the ref. *sigh*

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