The Roar
The Roar


Roar Guru

Joined August 2011










Only half agree with this. There are a list of players like Will Harrison, Lolesio, Nawaquanitawase and McReight who definitely would benefit from being in a wider Wallaby squad but aren’t ready to play tests just yet.

Conversely, I’d love to see Wilson given an opportunity to start as Wallaby 8. Similar goes for Wright at 6 and young men like Paisami who is the form 13 of the comp.

Will Miller is the form 7 of the comp and then there is Wright who has been the best winger by a mile. Why hold them back?

Rewarding form is important in selection no matter the age. Guys like Tim Horan, Jason Little, George Smith and even James O’Connor were good enough and old enough.

As for Nick Frost…. with Arnold, Rodda etc all off shore and intelligible, do we really want to play it safe with Simmons?

Dear Australian rugby: Cool your jets. Love, Australian rugby


We have to agree to disagree 😉

Some of the best games of rugby Ive seen have been at School, Colts and reserve grade level with kids throwing the ball around and playing for eachother.

The rubbish on TV at the moment is half as entertaining and heartless. It’s played by ‘professionals’ who have no real attachment to their sides and are scared to lose in front of empty stadiums (before and after Covid)

Will all 16 sides (or even one of them) instantly be able to compete with Canterbury or Leicester or Toulouse. Of course not. But at least we will have a viable pathway and infrastructure for young guys who have the talent to be considered.

I also remember in 1990 when Rugby League said there wasn’t the depth in Brisbane for a competitive side…

A national club competition: Australian rugby going it alone

Plumtree was seriously underrated. A brilliant rugby mind and in many ways the Wayne Smith of South Africa.
Skills can be taught and should be taught at young ages, just like languages. The in and out, where to put your head when you tackle, body position for clear outs, not passing to someone in a worse position. It is scary for Aussie rugby that so many of these things are lacking.

The Kiwis: How to beat them at their own game

Exactly and now is the time.
And your working business group is a great idea- they’ve just put one together for the RWC bid in 2027 so why not use it for this too!
No more messing about.

The Kiwis: How to beat them at their own game

Andy agree with your point re conflation. Simply put, I think we need to use the existing club rugby structure to create the 16 teams- those in the Shute Shield that are left behind could still enter reserve grades etc instead of being thrashed 50 nil each weekend.
Once a 16 team comp is in place with traditional clubs and traditional rivalries as well as state sides to aspire to, kids will be drawn in. And at that stage, you use the clubs to create pathways from schools, regions etc. They do it in league and it works so why are we too stubborn tom admit that.

The Kiwis: How to beat them at their own game

Wax- always good to have a debate and respect your view but:

(a) The Wallabies have played the Kiwis more than anyone in the last 10 years and there is no forwards, only backwards.
(b) The English have Premier Rugby. Their best sides play the best from France. Their average sides play the average sides in France. They hardly played the AB’s over the past 5 years and when they finally did they beat them at the RWC.
(c) QLD V NSW rivalry is real and used to mean something. We also used to see the ACT constantky innovating to prove they were better than both (hence the success of Aussie rugby from 1995 to 2005. Origin is key for Union in my opinion. Not Reds v Waratahs with Simmons captaining NSW and Mitchell running around on the wing in blue. Origin.

The Kiwis: How to beat them at their own game

There is plenty of money at Brothers in Brisbane or Randwick or Sydney Uni. Twiggy is pumping money into WA Club Rugby.
There are also easily 500 young players in Australia who deserve the opportunity to audition for the highest level on a regular basis.
Games should also go free to Air on the ABC or SBS asap. Get back to basics get kids excited to turn on the TV and noyt penalise those who can’t watch.

The Kiwis: How to beat them at their own game

Good point and one I thought about and have thought about a lot.
The fact is, half of the Shute Shield sides are also rans that regularly get 50-100 points put on them by Uni/ Randwick etc. Would they not benefit more from dropping into a 2nd tier comp against say Uni’s 2nd XV? The same can be said for Premier Rugby in Brisbane although the disparity isn’t so big.
We need to see games between NSW and QLD that mean something again. We need to see Brothers playing Randwick. We need the ACT and WA with chips on their shoulders constantly innovating and looking to prove they belong at the table. That is how Australian Rugby exploded between 1995 and 2005.
It will hurt for soem supporters but change must come and I’m confident that when it does, 90% of those supporters will be won over.

The Kiwis: How to beat them at their own game

Corne- good point.
My 16 team suggestion was based on two factors.
(a) It is the same as the NRL and the season would be loosely modelled on their season.
(b) It allows the strongest clubs in the Shute Shield and Brisbane Premier Rugby to survive but at the same time provides for 4 clubs between WA, Victoria and ACT.

The Kiwis: How to beat them at their own game

Smiggle Jiggle
I alluded to your comments re Waratahs players in my article.
It was a mistake to totally discard Quade as Foley became almost untouchable, especially as Toomua was at Leicester for so long.
I don’t think anyone can get their head around Hannigan. Great club player, ok provincial level, totally lost in tests. The Welsh and English forwards absolutely grilled him.
Also Latu. Brain snaps, can’t throw. All while BPA plays NRC.

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

Can’t agree with that Locky.
Yes McMahon may have left due to Hooper and Pocock.
But the vast majority have headed overseas for the money.

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

I understand and agree with your point that no single person owns the Wallaby job.
However there are no other good options. I am not a fan of the Jake White proposal as it will be just about the RWC yet we will be forced to hand White a 2-4 year contact and in my opinion be in the exact same place with an egotistical coach in 2 years time.

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

No doubt Cheika is very powerful and the buck stops with him.
BUT I can’t believe that Cheika is telling Larkham categorically he can’t pick a big 12 etc.
Also, I watching the Wallabies, the back line moves have Larkham/ 2000 Brumbies all over them- over elaborate, cute nonsense. Again, I can’t see Cheika directing that.

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

Point taken but as I said in the article, Larkham should have resigned rather than pick Foley at 12.
Also, Ledesma leaves and suddenly our set piece disintegrates…

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

Thank you (I think!).
With regards to insights I tried to set out the massive failures by Eales & Co regarding free to air tv, Sanzaar and school boy structures. I didn’t go into a lot of detail as that would require an article twice as long touching on central player contracting amongst others…

For what it is worth though, I think the lack of rugby on free to air TV is the single biggest issue afflicting rugby- it’s where participation starts and participation is where everything else starts.

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

Interesting article.
A lot of people have leapt to blame Cheika and it’s right that he should accept responsibility as head coach. But Steve Larkham has escaped criticism that to my mind he should be copping.
I was at the Twickenham game and even casual rugby supporters around me commented on how the Wallaby backs were running sideways and overcomplicating.
Hodge or Kerevi at 12 would definitely straighten the line but Foley sits so deep.
Know I’ll get hammered for saying it but I’d like to see
9. Gordon (Genia last 30)
10. Cooper
11. Naivalu
12. Toomua
13. Kerevi
14. DHP
15. Folau
Genia, Beale, Hodge on bench.

Also think the backline is hampered by no go forward in the pack- Hooper was like a rag doll against England. We need to take regency action to allow Skelton and McMahon to play at RWC (big Willy is playing well at Saracens).

1. Sio
2. Paenga
3. Slipper
4. Coleman
5. Rodda
6. McMahon
7. Pocock
8. Naisarani

TPN, Ainsley, Thor, Skelton, Hooper

A Wallaby backline to consider

The Immortals are so revered because the club is exclusive. I don’t think it was right to announce 5 players in one night. It cheapened the concept.

There were better ways to manage the pre-war imbalance. For example, have a special night this year to announce the 3 players from 1900-1945. Then wait a couple of years to announce Proven and Meninga.

The big plus is that they got the 5 players right.

Would be good to see Ken Irvine, Lockyer, Thurston, Smith and Slater announced in that order over the next 10–15 years. Aside from those 5, I don’t think anyone else who has played is up to the standard.

The big SCG night, when two new Immortals became five


It is not that the referees aren’t applying the rules correctly (although there are in fact cases of that), it is more that the rules are bad. The game is changing because of rules that sanitise it.

I can’t see how any observer can seriously argue that Rugby is in good shape. The stadiums are empty for Super Rugby, television audiences are down and participation is shrinking.

I am merely trying to sound the alarm.

The demise of rugby union

I’m not sure you actually grasped the article.
The referees are applying the laws but the laws are bad.
In fact, the laws are awful and they are driving people away from the game.

The demise of rugby union

Lacks the impact needed for a 13? Kerri on some and FIT has a bigger impact than any other 13 I can think of.
He was so obviously under done. Lead legs and blowing immediately. He hadn’t played for 4-6 weeks and then was picked to start in a Bledisloe. Ridiculous.
(a) shows that Cheka had no appreciation of his match fitness and (b) indicates that the Wallabies coaching staff have a fitness regime that is not fit for purpose, but they think it is. Taping up mouths and running up hills obviously was highly effective for Kerevi.
And another thing, how on earth is Hanigan in there again. He is a light weight Epsom without the ball carrying skills, defensive impact or rugby nous.

Wallabies stick with similar team for Bledisloe 2

Once Pocock is back, I would quite like to see a back row of:
6. Hooper 7. Pocock 8. Higginbotham

Higgers provides a line out option and carries well. Hooper has outstanding defensive and ball carrying ability. Pocock by far our best over the ball (Liam Gill is his logical successor). With that 3, you could also have Timani coming off the bench and it gives plenty of options/ versatility. I’d be tempted to squeeze Hardwick onto the bench too.

Cheika seems to have given up on Higgers which is unfair as he hasn’t had nearly the opportunities others have had. It isn’t as if we have a glut of good No.8s right now either. Playing McMahon at 8 on Saturday was a horrendous decision especially given that he could’ve played 6 instead of Hanigan.

A back-row must be more than the sum of its parts

It appears you are in the minority.
I think it defies logic to suggest that a defensive coach can stay on in his position after that performance (putting aside the Scotland fiasco).
You will also see that I haven’t called for Cheika to be replaced by White. I have suggested that Cheika needs a strong voice (a White, Henry or Jones down the track) that will force him to justify selections and tactical approach.
Cheika has now had 3 years and the performances are getting worse. There is no sign of improvement. Yes, the cattle may not be capable of beating the ABs. But they are capable of not missing 20 tackles in 20 minutes and conceding 40 points in a half. Period.

Time's up for the Cheika dictatorship

It’s got beyond that mate. 3nil at home against England. Poor away form last year. Loss against Scotland. Scraping home against Italy. And last night…
The only head I’ve called for is Nathan Grey’s. H can’t possibly continue with any authority on defence.
As you’ll see from the article, I’ve called for Cheika to agree to a ‘performance director’ or similar. A Jake White, Graham Henry type of guy that can challenge Cheika at selection and team tactics time.

Time's up for the Cheika dictatorship

Your interpretation is spot on. I would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.
When Cheika came in I was hopeful that he was a straight talker. He spoke and continues to speak about form, accountability for performances etc.
But he doesn’t back that up. And the post match presser last night was just too much. Same old stuff and no real honesty. Worse, it appeared that either (a) they didn’t think it was that bad a performance or (b) they had no idea how to put it right.

Time's up for the Cheika dictatorship

Agree mostly. I’m sure we will be told by the usual suspects that Pocock isn’t around. But by making Hooper captain, Cheika has effectively limited competition for 7 at the end of the year when Pocock returns. Hooper has a huge heart and is a great player but he is a super sub or squad 7.
As a side, I wrote this article and then paused before pressing the button, wondering if it was too harsh. Were there positives? Was it really sickening?
Then Michael Lynagh appeared on the telecast in the UK with Sean Fitzpatrick. Lynagh, a usually pretty calm and measured commentator was what i would describe as ‘sickened’. He said that he “couldn’t over emphasise his disappointment”. It honestly looked like he’d seen a ghost. He was totally unimpressed with the ‘we won the 2nd half’ nonsense trotted out too.

Time's up for the Cheika dictatorship