Friday’s Rugby News.
Helo a chroeso i ddydd Gwener.
Welcome to another Friday Rugby News, G&GRs, and the last international match for our lot this year. With injuries galore I reckon it can’t come fast enough and thankfully it’s only against the Welsh. Today let’s cast our minds back a week with ‘Paddy Whack’. Preview this weekend’s match in ‘It’s
not, wasn’t kinda unusual to beat Wales this time of year’. Drop in on the Wallaby wounded in ‘The Walking Dead’ and then challenge RA to grow a big hairy set in ‘No More Gateau’. And finish it off by piss-farting around with ‘Friday’s Goss with Hoss’, keeping Australians unproductive since 2021.
You know, it gets to a point where continuing to club something over and over and over loses its appeal. Sure, the first few times is exhilarating. You take aim, swing away, usually make pure, sweet, flush contact. There’s the sound of cracking bone, flesh and brain matter goes flying everywhere and for a moment you’re the king of all you survey. Well, that is until you look at your RMs and they’re covered in some god-awful material that not only wreaks of death, but also sticks to your boot like sexual assaults stick to loig players. It’s why, after 7 years I gave up clubbing baby seals, it just wasn’t fun anymore that and the price of pelts dropped.
And that’s where I’m at with the Wallabies. Time to put the club away & almost feeling sorry for the poor bastards, almost.
No, the Wallabies did not play well against the Oirish and that’s a shame. Because those in emerald showed themselves to be a one-trick pony and that pony’s name is ‘Sexton’. Sure they’re world number #1s for now, but World Champions later next year? No sirrrrreeeee Bob. That said our boys were brave, fit and largely competitive, certainly ‘stoic’ in D, but toothless, nay, completely rudderless in attack, with a young talent who specialises in 10 and has played 12 at U20s for his nation, left unused on the bench. Even when we had more casualties than at Fromelles all across the backline. Strange days indeed, most peculiar mumma.
There was again the same infuriating brain farts from recidivist culprits. The same basic mistakes, a dreadful lack of skill application (if indeed they possess the basic skills). I mean we have a 10 that can’t run, pass or kick! Lack of ‘game smarts’ or match awareness from our decision makers. Lack of discipline by someone who as best I can tell is a paid tourist in Folau Fainga’a, who surely makes Tolu Latu look positively saintly in comparison. But in all of this and for the fourth week in a row it was another ‘could’ve won’ game. Against the odds, and a massive injury toll before and during this tour (more on that below), yet a team bereft of ideas, spluttering in attack, written off by all again stayed in the fight and it’s that aspect that I will hang my hat on over the summer.
For as night follows day, cavalry will return, combinations will re-establish, selections might become clearer (as part of RA’s end of year review whispers are becoming a roar that there will be a Scott Jono like ‘independent selector’ introduced to help instal some oversight & sanity) and the consistency we all crave might, just might, reveal itself.
For now, it’s been a long year, a long tour and a frustrating time for our orange warriors. So instead of picking up the club and swinging away, maybe I’ll just say ‘thanks for never giving in, in trying times and I look to a 2023 where ambition and promise reveal themselves in better outcomes’.
That actually feels better, more sporting anyway, I think.
NOT WASN’T KIND OF UNUSUAL TO BEAT WALES THIS TIME OF YEAR.
Wales v Wallabies at Principality Stadium, Cardiff on Saturday 27 November, 3:15pm GMT/2:15am AEDT (Sunday) live and exclusive on STAN.
Well, it really is a battle of the international rugby under-achievers. Less than stellar years, more losses than wins, injuries galore, coaches under the pump and recent losses to teams that really should really have been put away by these two supposed rugby powerhouses. Adding the the challenge, Tom Decent points out:
‘The Wallabies have a horror record when it comes to the final match of a calendar year. Australia haven’t come up trumps in the final fixture of an international season since 2013.
Desperate to win, yet Noah ‘Splinters’ Lolesio still can’t get a start and in a very Cheikaesque move, arguably our best provincial fullback of 2022 in Jock Campbell is not as good a fullback as one of our wingers is in The Prospector, Tom Wright? One would imagine we’ll need 12 injuries to be had during the match before Splinters might get a run?
Apart from that it really is last man standing gets a run, well, except for ‘Lurch’ Swain and Matt Gibbon. With the emergence of Elsa Frost and my tip that Big Willy Skelton will be onboard the RWC2023 express than Lurch really has himself to blame for his poor discipline opening the door of opportunity to others. Besides, Elsa looks extremely likely to be a 100+ test veteran by the time he’s done (maybe Dirty Harry should head to UnzZed’s South Island for a while, too).
With two desperate sides, desperate coaches & despondent fans, these sides could just throw absolute caution to the wind and we see a bell-ringer of a game. Some Oz players get a rare start and long minutes to impress the boss and remind him that they are deserving of a RWC spot. Others, IMO like The Clydesdale & Palestine are playing for their very future in an orange jersey.
And the potential icing on the cake? Should we lose, it will be the worst year since 1958 in terms of result for the Wallabies to. So fingers crossed.
James Slipper (c), Folau Fainga’a , Allan Alaalatoa, Nick Frost, Cadeyrn Neville, Jed Holloway, Fraser McReight, Langi Gleeson, Jake Gordon, Ben Donaldson, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Reece Hodge, Len Ikitau, Jordan Petaia, Tom Wright Replacements Lachlan Lonergan, Tom Robertson, Sam Talakai* Ned Hanigan, Pete Samu, Tate McDermott, Noah Lolesio, Jock Campbell. *uncapped
Wales – TBA.
Match Officials: Referee: Matthew Carley (RFU) Assistant Referee 1: Luke Pearce (RFU) Assistant Referee 2: Chris Busby (IRFU) TMO: Joy Neville (IRFU)
Fearless prediction: The Cadbury All Sorts just, by 4.
THE WALKING DEAD.
Like you, I knew the Wallabies had their ‘injury woes’, but when it was laid bare by Tom Decent of the SMH yesterday it gave me pause to go ‘bloody hell’. But equally the article also screams out ’cause & effect’
A number of statements got me both perplexed & riled up at the same time, like: The Wallabies are currently searching for a new head of performance after losing highly regarded pair Dean Benton and John Pryor this year. We will be looking at getting an independent review to get a fresh set of eyes and we will certainly be working with the medical team, and management, to see what they’ve picked up. We are going to be thorough,” Marinos said
How in the name of Jehovah has this not been a priority & also WHY did they leave and what was done to retain them?
Here’s a tip, Lex, perhaps make player welfare the first priority of your organisation! Perhaps don’t schedule 5 tests over consecutive weekends at the end of a season as you and yours desperately suckle at the teat of Madame Cash. Wonder what the return is from the funds from wedging in the extra game against the cost to the game by losing Tupou & co? I could go on and on, but for those who can, please read for yourself. 40 players out injured, 11 alone from this touring party of 36, 4 with Achilles tendon issues.
Sure it’s a collision sport and no doubt there has been a degree of bad luck involved as well. BUT, to have no dedicated S&C, schedule games for a cash injection, player welfare be damned and then bitch moan and instigate committees and reviews, one might wonder when Scott Morrison joined RA?
Which dovetails nicely into my next article.
NO MORE GATEAU.
Not only three words to cause a brawl at a Cartwright luncheon, but also advice to save the game in Oz.
The evidence is surely in. The Gateau Law and the BS surrounding it, simply must go. I acknowledge that scrapping this ‘law’ won’t by itself fix all that ails the code in Oz. But as a ‘top to bottom’ review from the Wallabies to grass roots support & engagement and everything in between, the Gateau Law is completely self-sabotaging to every aspect of the code.
Stop and think for a minute, park your current position and just consider the facts:
- We have SRP provinces of average to middle quality compared with the Kiwis our nearest and most relevant litmus test and our competition partners
- We have approx 200 players across those teams
- Call it politics, ‘old boys club’, ‘the leather patch brigade’, ‘family connections’, ‘the right pedigree’, call it what you will, but there are many players in these squads for reasons other than form or merit.
- Our talent identification, engagement & retention of young rugby talent is farging abysmal. Maybe I should defer to Nutta here, but we have three fifths of ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’ staff on the ground even attempting to stitch up emerging talent. We have limited pathways (unless you come from the right rugby school with connections)
- Those that do pursue a rugby career, facing ‘barriers’ installed by rugby factions, leave to go OS where they learn their craft and improve as players and usually as people. SO how do we reward them? By ruling them out from National Selection as they haven’t played here for X years or Y tests
So just stop here for a second. The game puts road blocks and obstacles in the way of those who want to play rugby. Said obstacles not only forces players oversees, it practically encourages them to go. And their reward for undertaking this journey of rugby salvation and for sticking with the game and becoming better rugby players? That’s right, we rule them out of future national selection!
If it wasn’t so said, it would be side splitting hilarious!
Abso-flogging-lutely there are more ‘layers’ required to fix this broken model. Like a second tier comp, more investment in grassroots and critically centralisation by RA, but until RA show leadership, real leadership and make the tough decisions the code will continue to die on the vine in Oz and we will effectively waste the gravy train headed our way in ’25. ’27’ ’29 & ’32.
For mine, RA should use any PE funds to buy a controlling stake in all the franchises. Shake the bushes until all the deadwood falls out. Implement a second tier comp, centralisation and abolish the Gateau Law entirely and start to pick the best Australian player, regardless of where they ply their trade. Maybe then we will no longer need to read about the ‘return’ of the likes of Spanners & Gilbert to ‘save the Wallabies’
Until there is bravery, vision, planning and discipline we will wallow as a middling rugby nation as the glory days fast disappear in the rear vision mirror of lost opportunity. Maybe RA should this emblazoned at reception so that every employee, every guest reads it every single bloody day:
“As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly”
We’ve been ‘fools’ long enough.
FRIDAY’S GOSS WITH HOSS.
Lenny Ikitau tells rugby.com.au he has has come up with the novel idea of Wallabies players taking ownership for their performances and results this year. No shit ‘Sherlock’! There’s a unique bloody concept.
In other obvious news, Trump continues to claim the world is flat and Israel Folau refuses to enter any retail outlet selling ‘pouffes’.
Not since George Michael has ‘Faith’ been so popular, with Faith Nathan re-signing with the all conquering women’s 7s outfit for another two years. Nathan’s signature comes just days after Madison Ashby, Sariah Paki and Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea re-signed for the next two years.
Add in the Levi sisters and can anyone else sense a ‘dynasty’ for our already Triple Crown legends! Comm Games gold medal winners, world series & world champion title holders. Olympic gold in ’24 anyone?
‘Pie’m your man’
The man with more ‘Chins’ than a Beijing phone book, Drew Mitchell has tongue-in-
meringue-cheek, offered his services to our Wallaby walking wounded this week. The former wing dynamo and future Jenny Craig ambassador, hinted he would already be in Cardiff this Saturday and with Wallaby playing stocks already low, was open to offers. Stranger things have happened, ask Two Dads, one AAC for example.
Two Tahs to Watch
Gotta admit, The Funky Bunch’s first test ‘start’ last week was pretty special. He has size, pace, power and his aerial skills seem outrageous. Texting the craparazzi during the game and I’d go as far to say he ‘schooled’ Paddy-Mack Hansen. Likewise, I’m real keen to see how Langi Gleeson fronts up this weekend in his first test start. Whilst Dirty Harry Wilson (still love this guy) must have shat on a selector’s sandwich, Gleeson might be a smokey for Orange #6 at RWC2023. Stay tuned.
We are not alone.
Question: A quote from whom and about whom?
“You don’t see any development coming through. I think he’s out of depth at this level and I don’t see (insert name here) developing. He’s been in charge for three years, and we’re not a better team now than when he started. A national coach needs to know who his best players are and how he wants to play, and those are two things he hasn’t got right. There’s no plan and I don’t see it changing,”
Nearlies are crap.
Well that’s what I read anyway. Interesting insight from Justin Marshall via stuff.co.nz on why the ‘gap’ between north and south has closed so much, with some relevant insights like:
“Where we [New Zealand] have not adapted is we have not realised the game is now all about big, strong ball carriers, men that are hard to move away from the breakdown, and we haven’t adjusted to that. We are still a little light in those areas. I look at the back row of Ireland and France in particular, they are just big, men. The Argentinians, they are just big brutes. Big ball runners like that command two tacklers usually which leaves you defensively short, and we haven’t got that type of ball carrier at the moment.”
And people on here wonder why we needed and were better with Skelton on the paddock……..
Rumours of possible moves starting to gain ground
- Eddie to USA on 8 year deal and given carte blanche
- Razor to England for 4 years.
RassieRonan O’Gara also interested in the Pommy gig – if he can ever keep his mouth shut. Just got a 10 week suspension for disrespecting MOs. Surely Erasmus must then be walking the green mile…
Until next week.
Hoss – out.