Friday’s Rugby News has the squad for the Ireland game, Mick the Kick giving out his trade secrets, Jono Lance talking up the Force, and an apology for the All Blacks (not from GAGR, though).
Michael Cheika has announced his squad for the test against Ireland on Satdi/Sundi morning.
It’s more or less the 23 to be expected, with all of the rested players coming back into the squad from the equipe biz that biz-t the French last weekend.
Sekope Kepu, Rory Arnold, Michael Hooper, Reece Hodge, Dane Haylett-Petty, Israel Folau, Lopeti Timani, Quade Cooper are all back, with everyone else involved in the game in Paris now in Bordeaux.
This is what Cheika said: “I was actually quite pleased with Kane Douglas’ game the other day – thought it was the best he’s played this season and he looks like he’s starting to get a bit of his mojo back.”
“Timani has done absolutely nothing wrong,” Cheika continued. “We want to focus a little bit more on our lineout this week and the threat that Ireland might pose there – they’re very good in that area.
Dean brings a lot of experience and quality in that area. But then we’ll probably lose a bit of Lopeti’s ball carrying too.”
As ever, Cheika has named an extended bench, as he’s yet to decide whether he’ll go for a 5-3 or 6-2 split.
Wallabies Squad: 1. Scott Sio, 2. Stephen Moore, 3. Sekope Kepu, 4. Rory Arnold, 5. Rob Simmons, 6. Dean Mumm, 7. Michael Hooper, 8. David Pocock, 9. Will Genia, 10. Bernard Foley, 11. Henry Speight, 12. Reece Hodge, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 14. Dane Haylett-Petty, 15. Israel Folau O’Bench: 16. Tolu Latu 17. James Slipper 18.Allan Alaalatoa 19. Kane Douglas 20. Lopeti Timani 21. Sean McMahon 22. Nick Phipps 23. Quade 24. Sefanaia Naivalu (one to be o’mitted)
Mick the Kick
Mick the Kick has had a chat with the42.ie about his experiences coaching rugby skills. And it’s enlightening!
Byrne says a lot of interesting things, so to say time, the good bits have been chopped up below.
On coaching the Wallabies: “When you come in and ask them to change a little bit of their technique, it can be a bit daunting, especially when you come in during Test matches.”
“But every single player has had a go, has worked hard to make those little changes to tweak their technique. I really believe that professional players really enjoy the challenge of learning new things, and trying to achieve new things.”
On skill levels in world rugby: “I’m seeing the top end of the game improving,” says Byrne. “When we look back over 2006, 2007, 2008, and you look at the amount of passes the forward packs made in the Southern Hemisphere, New Zealand were way out in front and in the Northern Hemisphere, Wales were way out in front.
“And now that disparity is closing, so you can see a lot more rugby being played by the forwards, which improves the skill level of the team and creates more options.”
On his coaching objectives: “I think you’ll see the hands improve more in the forwards because they are handling the ball more than they usually do.
“But also in the backs you’ll see the running lines and other areas, just sharper running lines when we can. It sounds like basic stuff but in all sports when you’re working on individual players you can improve technique, and that’s what we’re trying to work on.”
Lance Loves Force
Jono Lance reckons the Western Force is the place to be, telling rugby.com.au that the culture at the club means it’s a good place to breed passionate and committed footballers.
“It’s a very big buy-in [from the players],” said Lance of committing to a club seemingly forever teetering on the brink.
“Having that buy-in to the team, you see how passionate it is. I know the playing group is very strong and very passionate about getting the best out of themselves.
At the moment four guys in the setup, but I know a lot of the younger guys coming through having seen them train and played with them in the NRC and Super Rugby – I think there’ll be a lot more in the setup in future years.”
Lance also opened up on managing various injuries and other setbacks over the years.
“Obviously injuries are a part of the sport but when you’re fit and playing, that’s when it’s exciting and meeting new people and travelling around like at the moment – that’s the beauty of rugby,” he said.
“It is a world game,” opined Lance, probably as he flicked through a broadsheet with news of the AFL Draft dominating the backpages. “We get to do all this and travel and spend a lot of time with the guys. That’s why I love playing rugby. It is an exciting time and I definitely cherish the moments more when you strive really hard to get into this position.”
ABs Get Apology
Stuff is reporting that Alain Rolland (who, ironically, is Irish), World Rugby’s chief referee (or something like that), has personally apologised to Steve Hansen for Aaron Smith’s yellow card.
Irish and Kiwi fans have been having at it ever since last weekend, when South African ref Jaco Peyper oversaw a fiery clash between the forces of good and The Darkness.
In particular, arms have been up and stayed up over Sam Cane’s controversial non-sin-binning, Malakai Fekitoa’s best attempt at a family friendly decapitation, and Smith getting done (rightly/wrongly) for interfering in the ruck.
Hansen, according to this very weirdly written piece, is a bit flummoxed that his side wasn’t given a fair go by Peyper.
The article says “[The All Blacks] had no issue with Peyper penalising them 14 times, but feel they were marginalised because he failed to scrutinise what the Irish were doing.
[How could] the the Irish…only concede four penalties, especially with a fast defensive line, swift advances around the ruck fringes and, like everyone, the desire to slow ruck ball[?]”
Funnily enough, it seems World Rugby have backed Peyper in two of the three key moments listed above: they actually deemed Fekitoa’s offence to a be a red-card, and so have banned him for one week; and they exonerated the unpunished Cane.
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All you have to do is enter the code “GAGR84” to receive your discount on a lineup of beers that would give the current Wallabies XV (plus coach Cheika) a run for their money.