Happy Friday Earthlings.
WOW! What a week in the
revisionist Quade Cooper history of Australian Rugby and possibly best Wallaby ever, certainly best #10 in the history of the code comments section! There would appear to be some serious scar tissue developed over a year or two amongst many of the GAGR faithful, that’s for sure.
Today let’s dive head long into a look at our Rugby Saviours performance against the Boks, the ‘Roman Catholics’ of World Rugby, as the Saffa’s are completely opposed to having the pill. Preview a possible Boks rebound and get inside camp Wallaby with player in’s & outs, milestones, recoveries, recalls, rankings, records and rewards.
All this and Fridays Fast 5 Bonus! 60% of the time, guaranteed to be 34% accurate all of the time!
Where do you begin?
This week I quietly observed GAGR from the safety and anonymity of the Ponderosa’s verandas.
I read through story after story that had at its beating heart both the selection of and the solid outing of Lazarus during last week’s Wallaby win. And boy weren’t there a plethora of opinions over a range of topics directly stemming from his selection & performance. They ranged from the role of religion in education verse that of instead teaching ethics or personal awareness. The amount of meat needed to either increase or maintain his weight, the length and snugness or otherwise of his shorts, the vilifying of any / every coach who dared not play him or worse, dropped him or, hush, say it softly now, banished him and almost everything in between.
So varied & so revered were the words that shimmered across the GAGR comments that indeed I strayed into the hitherto forsaken ‘mainstream media’ in search of parallel stories of QC curing cancer, figuring out the genome of the Delta strain and a subsequent eternal vaccine, whilst simultaneously stopping famine, all world conflict AND rolling back the effects of climate change. And as a crescendo I wondered if he had also got Chinese Chairman Mau-Lite, ‘He Who-pings’ to apologise for a ‘few’ foreign policy mistakes. But alas such articles evaded me.
So I pondered what pray tell was at the heart of this broad spectrum of (slightly odd) conversations?? The answer was a combination of two things. Just how far our expectations had fallen as Wallabies fans, or perhaps expertly managed downwards over the last decade and finally an international #10 who did his job as it should be done. I mean, even Shag was impressed on planetrugby.com
Now, of course I like a good redemption story and I too have endured more vices than Don Johnson, so I am also happy that Mr Cooper has found his way through his life journey and arrived at his ‘happy place’.
The comments section this week has been illuminating, confusing, at times creepy and an always exciting ride and I’ve arrived at one irrefutable truth. Us Wallaby fans must have been that completely subjugated, mistreated, let down, taken for granted, oppressed and abused for such a long time, that all it took for this colossal outpouring of varying emotions, ideas and ideologies was simply for a player to perform their role to international standard – no more, no less.
Look, I like winning & for me the win was entirely unexpected. For the record, I thought Lazarus played his role very very very well. He took the right options in attack AND defence, he utilised the skill of those around him, utilised his new found maturity & self-awareness to underplay his role (compared to QC1.0). His goal kicking was an unexpected bonus for sure and had I had been sober enough to post a GAGR Player Rating I would have had him at 8.5, just ahead of Lee Majors & Gandalf at 8 a piece.
My point in all this? QC finally delivered on what he has promised for so long. Was he brilliant – no. Did he make an imperious play that set free the wild horses of the Aussie backline – no. Did he do all that I expected of an international play-maker of his experience, now paired with a greater personal maturity and inner-peace? Bloody-oath he did. When performance finally marries potential then that must be extremely satisfying for the player and most certainly it was for this fan.
Now all I seek is consistency, long the Achilles heal of many a man in gold and especially of Quade1.0
Beware the bruised & brooding Boks.
For all the unbridled joy and rose coloured glasses and general golden haze around last weeks win, one rather overlooked fact has kept me awake this week. The Boks played NO rugby, none whatsoever, they are as boring as the Ted Bundy’s of the Australian conference, The Brumbies (damn you Jake White, damn you). YET, they were one upright away or one grounding (seriously how did their #13 NOT score that try, I mean WT holy F? right) from winning the game AND yet they scored three tries to our 1 !!
I get the Boks play squeeze rugby. They don’t want the ball, at all, ever, unless it’s to kick it back to you or a rolling maul from 5m out from the opposing try line. So for all of this, for all the non-rugby, kick-fest, shite-ball, how were they ever in the contest at all, yet we were lucky to ‘steal’ the game away at the death?
Whilst I am no fan of the style of Rugby they play, its their ‘brand’, they’re particularly good at it and by crikey there are some ‘plus sized humans’ in their playing ranks capable of imposing their will.
So to Saturday arvo’s game at the Hillbilly Capital, north of civilisation. I don’t see the Boks straying away from their efforts of last week, in fact I reckon they will ‘double down’ and be more ruthless at it. They will keep it tighter than a sheep’s pooper (cheers for the info KARL, the photo was a little confronting, but each to their own) & slow and control the game, minimise the mistakes and they will be more dangerous for last weeks game and now free from the quarantine induced ‘rustiness’ that plagued them at the Gold Coast. Put simply, they will attempt to strangle us to death. Lazarus can expect big bodies his way all night, not because he cant tackle, but to fatigue him physically thus nullifying his game-playing skills.
The Boks aren’t world champs by accident. Beat em once, good for us, beat em twice, well that’s a whole different animal entirely.
Even though there’s basically just tinkering around last weeks teams margins, there is much ado around the wider Orange squad.
Rugby.com.au reports Sean McMahon is back in the mix with a claim he is near on ‘fittest in the squad’ and is likely to get a run next week. JOC2.0 could resurface next week via the pine in that dreaded ‘utility’ capacity (The Clydesdale & Bastards may be fretting a bit I reckon), Dr Robbo makes his first appearance on the test scene for a while – courtesy of a bench gig this week.
This week The Lip starts (rightfully), The Abattoir & Jimmy Slips get a gig in the run-on side & somewhat surprisingly for mine, ‘Dirty Harry’ (Wilson) still misses out, he must continue to shit in the coaches Wheetbix each morning (he must be injured surely???) and Rob Leota’s brief stint ends as he makes way for the return of Lurch on the pine.
A cursory glance would confirm a few appear to be lucky to still be in the team, well squad actually. And a few players for mine it would appear ‘last drinks saloon’ if they can’t aim up.
However, THE news in Wallabies camp this week is Skipper Michael Hooper this Saturday leading the Wallabies out AND breaking the record for most caps as captain a record previously held by coffee guru and half-decent #9 George ‘The Governor’ Gregan. At age 29, in his 113th test, Hoops will lead out our national team for the 60th time.
The man is a legend, widely respected in international rugby circles, resilient, tough fit and gives his all and will go down as a Wallaby great when the sun doth set on his career. Well done Hoops, well done.
WALLABIES (15-1): Tom Banks, Andrew Kellaway, Len Ikitau, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Quade Cooper, Nic White, Rob Valetini, Michael Hooper (capt), Lachlan Swinton, Matt Philip, Izack Rodda, Taniela Tupou, Folau Fainga’a, James Slipper. Reserves: Feleti Kaitu’u, Angus Bell, Tom Robertson, Darcy Swain, Pete Samu, Tate McDermott, Reece Hodge, Jordan Petaia.
Fearless prediction. I hate to say it, but I just cant see the Saffa’s playing so poorly twice in a row and the selected Wallaby team still doesn’t fill me with unshakable resolute conviction. I’d love to be wrong, but my head tells me Boks by 10-14.
Fridays Fast 5 Bonus!
World Rugby Bi -Curious.
World Rugby have come out with a working group to look into the feasibility of a ‘biennial’ RWC. Yep, bugger FUKIR tours, Norther Tours, Grand Slam Tours, NH tours down south in our winter and Player Welfare concerns all together. Let’s just try and get more snouts into the trough more often shall we. Dickheads.
Having watched the two games back to back last week I just can’t shake the feeling that the big winner last week was the northern hemisphere officials. In the cold light of day Ian Pearce taught our ‘Bez’ an officiating lesson. Sure Pearce got stuff wrong, but his communication, feel for the game and ability to lay his expectations early made for a better spectacle. Compared to Bez who let the Nearlies lie all around the back of the FISM’s ruck like statues, constantly offside and just generally just being New Zealand-like. And I say this without the Aussies losing to NZ for a change. The constant Kiwi infringing is a blight on the game and I am calling for more stringent penalties, including but not limited too jail sentences, public stoning and capital punishment. We know Kiwi’s are slow learners, Kindergarten is the toughest 12 years of their lives, so let’s accelerate their ‘understanding’ and compliance with the laws of the game shall with severe punishment attached for infringing. Tell ya what – I hope Pearce has the Nearlies v DDD game – now THAT will be interesting.
Dead before hatched?
This from rugbystuffnz.com ‘In an interview with Sky Sport’s Breakdown show that aired on Monday night, Beaumont indicated that the World 12s concept very much remains at the “press release” stage, raised concerns about player welfare, and confirmed that the new competition would have to be sanctioned by World Rugby to be part of rugby’s official calendar.’
Yet in the next breath they want a biennial RWC? FFS, do they ever stop & actually listen to themselves?
First placed non-medallists?
It the quiet shadows of everything Quade, Mr Brett Mckay, sometimes GAGR blogger, journalist and resident of that ‘other’ rugby fan site points out via the lefty pinko commie media, the ABC, that a win this week will be:
a. The first back to back wins under Moses &
2. See us jump to 4th in the IRB World Rankings – overtaking renowned pissheads The Oirish.
Add into the mix Hoop’s record breaking game, the ongoing redemption of Lazarus, some players soon to return from injury and there is much to glean from this week.
It hurts to be right so often!
Obviously those who inhabit the hallowed halls of RA, barking lunch orders at Nathan Williamson, are fans of Fridays Rugby News. Perhaps none more so than CEO Mr Lex Marinos. Sam Phillips from the media formerly known as the ‘Packer Propaganda Papers’, the SMH reports that The Gatteau Law is set to be diluted with Messrs Kerevi, McMahon, Tolu Latu, Rory Arnold and Will Skelton in the crosshairs as well as one M Koroibete for this years Northern Tour. One would hope ‘Noddy The Booze Bunny’, Mr Latu will not be driving the tour bus at anytime.
Until next week.