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wre01

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Joined August 2011

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What is going on?!
Never seen such bad defence by the Wallabies ever. Could be to do with having a totally unbalanced back row and Nathan Grey as a defensive coach.
On this performance, Cheika seriously needs to consider his position or at least make whole sale changes to his backroom staff. Not working and no excuses- they’ve been together 4 weeks!

Wallabies vs All Blacks: Bledisloe Cup Game 1 live scores, blog

Absolutely atrocious.
We will be accused of Tah bashing but the defence is atrocious, the back row anonymous and Hannigan anonymous within the back row, totally ineffective.
Very first minute the All Blacks were breaking tackles, off loading and making easy yards. Lost count of missed tackles and defensive misreads after 25 minutes.
How is Nathan Grey in a job?

Wallabies vs All Blacks: Bledisloe Cup Game 1 live scores, blog

slacker
Aaron Smith got caught in an airport toilet with a consenting woman. Stupid thing to do but I’d argue that was far less an offence than Kurtly’s rap sheet.
Also, Smith was excluded for a test (or two) and by all accounts tearfully apologised to his team for letting the All Black family down. As far as I can tell, Beale has never shown much genuine contrition for anything he has done, almost as bad as JOC. That is a key issue I have with him but one Cheika seems to not worry much about. “I care about good rugby players, thats all my job requires” etc.

Michael Cheika's time is running out

Damo. Ask yourself this. What coach, in any Aussie sport, could survive a 3nil home series loss against England? Imagine if the Ashes are lost 3-1 or 4-1 or 5nil. The coach, captain and probably key players would all be under severe pressure to quit.
That is before the loss to Scotland and the ‘almost loss’ to Italy. Cheika has had a soft ride from the media, ARU and public so far.

Michael Cheika's time is running out

Thanks Daveski
Selection is a huge issue and an area where I think Cheika doesn’t always follow his own advice.
The fact is that the Waratahs finished 2nd last in the Aussie conference. At times this year, they seemed totally rudderless and almost to give up when the going got tough. Their skills also often let them down. The same could be said for all Aussie sides but the Waratahs were particularly bad (as their final table position showed). I focussed on the Waratahs, not to ‘Tah Bash’ but because of that.

Michael Cheika's time is running out

Fin
My intention was not to ‘Tah Bash’.
I have been a Cheika fan and followed him closely at Leinster. Similarly, I have lots of time for Hooper, the grief he cops for a supposed lack of work ethic/ swanning around out wide is totally unjustified.
BUT, Cheika (and Hooper) have shown some very poor judgement and hypocrisy over the years. Too much of what Cheika says isn’t followed up by real actions and tangible policy.
Also, ask yourself this. What other sporting coach in Australia could lose a home series to England 3 nil and still be in a job? Worse, losing to Scotland and being pushed perilously close by Italy at home the next year was unbelievable.
Cheika has been around 2/3 years now as the national coach and I think the public and media have been far to lenient on him.

Michael Cheika's time is running out

Ruckin
My biggest problem with Hooper being made 7 is that it effectively stops competition for the open-side flanker position. That is arguably our only position in the forwards where we have a genuine World XV contender in Pocock (when he’s back at the end of the year).

Michael Cheika's time is running out

Frisky- agreed.
The article says time is running out for Cheika, not that it has.

Michael Cheika's time is running out

Pocock is due back at the end of the year.
7 is probably the only position in the forwards where we have truly world XV contenders yet we limit our options there now by Hooper being named captain. He is not as good as Pocock and arguably Gill is/ was a better 7 but was forced off shore due to lack of opportunity in the national set up.

Michael Cheika's time is running out

Thanks Mania
To be clear for some of the others, it wasn’t designed as ‘Waratah’s Bashing’ nor was it trying to perpetuate the campaign against Hooper’s captaincy. I think Sydney has produced the majority of Wallaby coaches because they were the best available (Jones, McKenzie, Cheika). I also think Hooper is a wonderful player not deserving of the grief he cops, he just isn’t the best 7 we have (I think he’s behind Pocock and Gill).
My BIG issue is that I think Cheika has been hypocritical and shown poor judgement on a host of matters. He undoubtedly thinks he has until after the RWC regardless of performance. My view is that the ARU should be firing a few warning shots. There are other options- maybe it is nearing the time that we let White, Ackerman or even Wessels apply…

Michael Cheika's time is running out

Jock
When you think of the stars (and depth) at Eddie’s disposal you have to wonder whether England will be harder to beat than the Lions, especially given they will have plenty of preparation time.
Any nation that has Itoje, Kruis, Lawes and Launchbury all as locks must be in great nick. England’s ‘C Team’ with all the Lions missing still managed a 2 nil series win in Argentina.
If nothing else, the LIons series should alert the Kiwi public to the fact that England will be a major threat (not just another NH side)

With the series now done and dusted, it's clear the Lions were underestimated

Spot on Tigranes
Billy Vunipola was a massive loss and was a nailed on certainty for the 23, if not to start. I thought the NZ bench struggled to make the impact that the Lions bench did. Sinkler and Lawes were immense when they came on and Vunipola would have really hurt the AB’s with 25 to go. Best ball carrier in rugby in my view and 2nd best No.8 behind Read.
And let’s not forget the Lions test side had 2 games (Canterbury and the Maori) to prepare for the first test.

With the series now done and dusted, it's clear the Lions were underestimated

Taylorman
Just curious about what you classify/ define as ‘hard data’.
As I say in the article, the warning signs were there 2-3 months ago:
(a) You had a Saracens side that had played some sensational rugby against high quality teams and won 2 European titles in a row (it went on to provide Vunipola, George, Itoje and Farrell- all key men for the Lions).
(b) You had England who had beaten the Wallabies 3 nil in Australia and won a Grand Slam for the first time in more than 10 years.
(c) Then there was Ireland who had gained enormous belief from the 2 tests against NZ in 2016. Sean O’Brien is the sort of 7 that the Kiwis hate to play against and affects their flow- slows the ball, holds players up, disrupts the breakdown.
(d) Farrell had already beaten the AB’s in 2012, had won 2 European championships and back to back Six nations all by 25. He had played at 12 for 2 seasons for England and been dynamic and much more than a ‘kicker’.
The All Blacks are also an incredibly young side and Reed had lost a ton of leadership (McCaw, Carter, Mealamu, Nonu, Smith).
This isn’t a ‘I told you so’ article. But I think NZ needs to be fully on alert for England now. I think they will be tougher to beat than the Lions.

With the series now done and dusted, it's clear the Lions were underestimated

Tim
Agreed. There is definitely a concern that the forward pack is performing brilliantly and the backs are not. As you say, having that much possession and failing to do allot with it is a worry.
I have long said that Farrell needs to play at 12 outside of Sexton precisely for the reason that two distributors would keep defences guessing and bring players like Davies, North and Watson into the game more. That’s aid, Te’o was man of the match against the Maori but nobody seemed to be running off his shoulder and his line breaks were squandered.

Gatland's selections tarnish dominant win

Moaman
Very good point.
You wouldn’t expect there to be a big difference but it boils down to certain ‘key’ players performing against the Crusaders and Maori and other ‘key’ players not against Otago and Auckland.
Jamie George has surprisingly emerged as the favourite to start the tests ahead of Owen and Best.
Sean O’Brien has been immense whereas Warburton is struggling to get back from injury.
Kruis has been the best lock on tour whereas Wynn-Jones is off the pace.
CJ Stander has dropped off from his 6 Nations form and Faletau has improved.
Murray has been streets ahead of the other half backs.
Would be really interested to hear what Kiwis think of the likes of Sean O’Brien and Peter O’Mahoney so far and who they would pick in the bets Lions side for the test.

Gatland's selections tarnish dominant win

Buk
There are always selection debates, especially at the time of the Lions’ squad announcement. This year Launchbury’s omission was the focus but most moved on.
However, Gatland taking the approach that he did with the replacements has caused an absolute storm in British and Irish rugby from the grass roots to the top levels.

Gatland's selections tarnish dominant win

That is spot on Cuw.
The Lions concept is one of the defining ‘immortal’ brands of rugby.
Doing what Gatland has done is tantamount to Steven Hansen calling up Kiwis playing club rugby in Europe for mid-week All Black games on the basis they were close by. It just wouldn’t happen unless dysentery struck down all 3 scrum halves or hooker etc.
There is no way on any sensible view that most of the 6 call ups were the best available. I’d say perhaps Finn Russell is the only one who fits that category although George Ford would have allot to say about that.

Gatland's selections tarnish dominant win

Quin
A slightly odd argument there from my perspective.
The Lions’ side that beat the Maori were effectively playing for the second time together. It was a similar lineup to the Crusaders clash but totally different to the Highlanders/ Blues games.
Agree that the Lions shouldn’t get too carried away. I think they will match and perhaps best the All Blacks up front but there is a long way to go for the backline. While Te’o is punching holes the backline is pretty one dimensional and squandering allot of good ball the forwards are giving it.

Gatland's selections tarnish dominant win

Waxhead
You’ll see my comment above about Farrell.
Have to disagree with you about the Lions forwards though- they were all over the Blues last night with the exception of Best’s brain snap at the final lineout.

Warren Gatland is ruining the Lions series

Hoy
That’s a fair comment about Farrell- he isn’t a Giteau or Barrett.
But he has an ability to bring a backline into a game. He plays very steadily, like an Aaron Mauger, controlling a tempo, takes pressure off his 10 and releases the runners outside him. And he kicks and defends like Wilkinson.
The problem with Gatland is he picks players like Roberts, Te’o, Davies and North and runs them at brick walls. Sure, they may offload once or twice a game but it is not the way to beat the All Blacks.
If you watch how Jones has used Farrell for England he alternates as a first distributor in phase play and usually distributes to runners from set piece. There is some imagination that at least leaves the other team in two minds.

Warren Gatland is ruining the Lions series

Taylorman- I think Gatland’s selections are disjointed but not necessarily his squad.

Fro example, he could pick Murray and Sexton, the Irish combination at 9/10. He could then select Farrell and Joseph, the English combination at 12 and 13. But he refuses to.

He has shown a willingness to do that in the forwards and it has worked. Lawes and Itoje were a great locking combination for England and were for the Lions against Auckland too.

Warren Gatland is ruining the Lions series

Kirky

For the record, I am an Aussie, married to an Irish lass and living in London for the past 10 years. I think the article is objective and just raises a few uncomfortable home truths.
From my perspective, the beauty of Kiwi rugby over the years has been the modesty of players like Carter and McCaw and Lomu in the face of extreme success. I think the All Blacks are an example to world sport the world over on how you can succeed and the culture you need.

I would never compare McCaw to the likes of David Warner etc. And that is the point. If McCaw and Carter don’t feel the need to be criticize England as being fat, or the Wallabies as being too cocky or the French of being dirty or the South Africans as being one dimensional why do so many Kiwis supporters now?

One of the things that sparked this article was the reaction to articles I wrote about the chances of the Lions winning in NZ and Owen Farrell’s talents. So many of the responses showed a complete disdain and lack of respect for rugby in the north. Again, can you really say with a straight face, that you haven’t noticed that?

I think Ken Catchpole puts it very well when he says that New Zealand seems very resistant to self analysis.

Why All Black fans should be worried about the Wallabies' and Springboks' woes

Quin
Perhaps you can tell me how I ‘factually’ support social media trends? How do I collate the number of times you read on the Roar or Twitter or Facebook that NH rugby is boring or Owen Farrell is useless compared to Beauden Barrett or NH rugby is played by fat, slow players etc?
Perhaps you have an algorithm or software application for it?
I think it is hard to deny that those perceptions exist in NZ on a general level and that they are increasingly repeated. Again, don’t shoot the messenger.

Why All Black fans should be worried about the Wallabies' and Springboks' woes

Quin
I would accept there are major flaws in the Australian (and South African) games.
My view is also that the All Blacks are a template for sporting success globally, even in the States. Part of the reason is that NZ rugby is sensationally supported and managed at every level.
That said, I think my article fairly noted a tendency by an increasing proportion of rugby supporters in NZ to show a lack of humility and appreciation for the broader game’s woes. If I was a Kiwi supporter, I’d be concerned that culturally that may impact on the national team in the future. It is also worth noting that perception is shared not just by many Australians and South Africans but also Europeans.
Don’t shoot the messenger.

Why All Black fans should be worried about the Wallabies' and Springboks' woes

Atlas
In my experience, Kiwi Rugby supporters are some of the loveliest people and most humble achievers. The community spirit you describe will hopefully never be lost to the game.
But I stand by my comments that there is an increasing under current in NZ that is not humble or quietly achieving and goes against the traits Kiwis are generally known and valued for.
Living in London, many, many Rugby supporters of all nationalities are saying it. They resent the “typical northern hemisphere 10” talk around Farrell. It’s demeaning and lacking respect. They don’t like hearing that European Cup Rugby is rubbish. Or that the islanders in the English and Welsh sides shouldn’t be eligible. And allot of that talk comes from NZ, recently at least.
I think NZ Rugby can stick its head in the sand and deny that there are some pretty unsavoury elements to its support these days or they can tackle it head on. And the best way to do that is to recognise that the game in NZ needs the game in Australia and SA to flourish. Stop the talk of how unfair it is that all 5 kiwi sides aren’t eligible for the Super Rugby finals and look at the big picture.

Why All Black fans should be worried about the Wallabies' and Springboks' woes