Rugby

Friday’s Rugby News.

'Maybe I need to reconsider having the pill?' Boks Coach Jacques Nienaber
Friday’s Rugby News.

Hello world, welcome to Friday, or as they say in Europe, ‘Thursday evening’.

Come down the rabbit hole of rugby fandom with me today as we kick off with ‘Like a Version’. With NZ & SA playing so shite we dive into the s-bends of RC Round #4 with ‘Game of Thrones’. Take a look at some wheelin’ & dealin’ by RA in ‘R.E.S.P.E.C.T’. Cast a withering eye at finances in the Oz women’s game with ‘Show me some money – please!’. And put the cherry on top with ‘Friday’s Goss with Hoss’, recently signed with LIV Rugby. Sure the Saudi’s kidnap, torture, kill, maim and perform state-sponsored dismemberment of citizens, but I get $145 million: it’s just ‘business’, ok!

I miss the 80s.

LIKE A VERSION.

I made it through the rugby test
Somehow I made it through
Didn’t know how lost I was
Until we beat you

I was beat
Incomplete
I’d been had, I was sad and blue

But you made me feel
Yeah, you made me feel
Shiny and new (Hoo)

As a long time supporter of the Wallabies I got to tell yers last week left me feeling just like the person Miss Ciccone describes above, but it also left me nervous with a tingling & visceral sense of pending doom for this weekend’s return bout. Make no mistake Gaggers, this week our Orange Warriors face their biggest and most formidable opponent they have: consistency.

We have all been here before haven’t we! A dreadful performance like that in San Juan and a shite-storm rains down on them from all quarters. The fans are hostile and RA are in damage control as the brand value diminishes even further. The team generally are contrite, embarrassed, heck – even ashamed. Then there’s the ‘steely resolve’, the ‘difficult reviews’, the circumspect ‘we had a good look at ourselves’, ‘we need to earn respect’ which is all well and good, it all ‘plays well’ to stakeholders and fans alike and essentially serves as one big blanket mea culpa.

A week or so later the team ‘lifts’, there’s a ‘spirited fightback’, a win is had and the sun shines and the birds tweet and all is at one again in the rugby cosmos. Suddenly, fan expectations ‘shift’. ‘This is the year we take back the Bledisloe’. ‘How bout XXXX player hey, he’s a superstar, why haven’t we played him more?’. ‘The coach is on an upward trajectory, let’s re-sign him to an contract extension now, before the RWC even begins, we’d hate to lose him’.

Surely we’ve all seen this movie before?

And like the worthless promises from a philandering flame we start to believe that change, real change, is possible. We take them back into our warm embrace and hold them close against our bosom. We believe the words, trust in the actions, limited though they are, and not only throw ourselves open to the possibility that this might just be real, we jump in boots and all and off we go again. Only to come home and find them in bed with your Uncle again have our rugby faces rubbed in it again a week later when they once again soil the linen!

So verily I say to the Orange ones, you need to show us you can consistently deliver Adelaide-like performance for fans to really engage and drink from the Kool-Aid. Do this, overcome the seismic gap from your good and bad performances and show us you can be that good consistently. Sure, there’ll always be some slight form variables, but Adelaide is the benchmark, all efforts that follow must be like a version of the same.

NZ & SA performance review equipment.

GAME OF THRONES.

One must really ask: just what does Australia & Argentina garner from playing a tournament with SH rugby lightweights and this year’s Rugby Championship wooden spoon battlers, The Nearlies & The Pope’s Lot?

This week we once again do our bit to promote the code to these barren third-world serial underperformers in round #4 of the RC, despite the oh so predictable results!

2022 ‘Hossary’ here.

New Zealand v Argentina

FMG Stadium Waikato, Coverage on STAN from 4.00pm. Kickoff 5.05 pm – AEST

Despite having 114% possession and forcing Los Pumas to make 6,416 tackles, which to their credit the FISM’s effectively completed 6,502 of, somehow the Nearlies snatched defeat from the jaws of victory last week and continue their downward trajectory. Indeed they are so far down World Rugby ranking that the entire nation are suffering the ‘bends’.

Taking his cues from NZ’s best coach, Dave Rennie, Fozzie B Bear has made no changes to his starting XV, but has made a raft of changes to the pine riders. Out of sorts Codie Taylor completely makes way for octogenarian and all round fan favourite Dane Coles while the team welcomes back some fair-to-middling players in Beauden Barrett, Hodor Retallick as well as Mista Dobalina, Mista Bob Dobalina Dalton Papali’i 

It’s been a week to savour for master coach M Cheika. His side has been touted as ‘favourites’, they’ve got to watch the NZ media in a lather, a home team on the demise with a coach under extreme pressure and been able to take the moral high road while his side bunkers down and plots una victoria contundente.

The Argies look like a team of tightly-bonded brothers (cue Yowie here). They’re relaxed in each others company, understand their roles and are big, fit humans enjoying life & rugby under Cheik & Co.

Fearless Prediction: Argentina by 35.

The Nearly All Blacks: (15-1): Jordie Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, David Havili, Caleb Clarke, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea, Sam Cane (capt), Shannon Frizell, Scott Barrett, Sam Whitelock, Tyrel Lomax, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Ethan de Groot.

Reserves: Dane Coles, George Bower, Fletcher Newell, Brodie Retallick, Dalton Papali’i, Finlay Christie, Beauden Barrett, Quinn Tupaea.

FISM’s: (15-1): Juan Cruz Mallia; Emiliano Boffelli, Matias Moroni, Matias Orlando, Santiago Cordero; Santiago Carreras, Tomas Cubelli; Pablo Matera, Marcos Kremer, Santiago Grondona; Tomas Lavanini, Guido Petti; Joel Sclavi, Julian Montoya (capt), Thomas Gallo

Replacements: Santiago Socino, Mayco Vivas, Eduardo Bello, Matias Alemanno, Juan Martin Gonzalez, Gonzalo Bertranou, Benjamin Urdapilleta, Lucio Cinti.

MATCH OFFICIALS: Referee: Nic Berry (RA) Assistant Referees Nika Amashukeli (GRU) Jordan Way (RA)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (IRFU)

Wallabies v South Africa

Allianz Stadium, Sydney, Coverage on STAN & 9 from 7.00pm. Kickoff 7.35 pm

For the first time in approx. 138 years, the Wallabies have named an unchanged starting XV to take on perennial easybeats from the lands that only the Dutch would want. Indeed, the only change to the Wallaby match day XXIII is the return of Commissioner Gordon to the bench to replace Joe Dirt, whom, it must be said, has a pass that needs so much work that currently, he would surely struggle to pass wind.

The Orange side are settled, injury-free from last week and should be confident as well. Plus they have surely the World Player of the Year in their side, one M Koroibete, who has surpassed, by some margin, just how good I thought he could be. If there is a more complete back – hell, complete player – in world rugby at present, I ain’t seen them go round. Add to that a sell-out crowd at the newly-completed Allianz Stadium, then the signs are good for another routing of the Pope’s XXIII.

For the Catholics, at least with Tyrian De Klerk dropped for his vicious ‘coward punch’ on the Lip & ‘Sir Kickalot’, Handre Pollard out injured for the remainder of the RC their backs might actually see some attacking ball (I know, I tried not to laugh too). However, coach Nienaber has seemingly put a part-timer into the #10 jersey with Damian Willemse so then again the backs may as well take a good book and a blanket and get comfy for the night cause it’s gonna get lonely out wide for the Saffas.

A total of eight changes have been made to the SA team, including members of the famed ‘bomb squad’ moving to the starting XV. However, such a ‘promotion’ for these guys sees the average age of the bench now around the 46 year old mark and the average weight around 360 pounds (what’s Fran Steyn been eating – another Fran Steyn?), perhaps they are now ‘the crock jocks’ instead?

For me the Saffa changes are like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. Too little and too late, the result is already a foregone conclusion.

Fearless Prediction: Wallabies by 20

WALLABIES (15-1): Reece Hodge, Tom Wright, Len Ikitau, Hunter Paisami, Marika Koroibete, Noah Lolesio, Nic White, Rob Valetini, Fraser McReight, Jed Holloway, Matt Philip, Rory Arnold, Allan Alaalatoa, Folau Fainga’a, James Slipper (c).

Reserves: Dave Porecki, Scott Sio, Taniela Tupou,  Darcy Swain, Rob Leota, Pete Samu, Tate McDermott, Andrew Kellaway.

The Pope’s Lot: (15-1):Willie le Roux, Canan Moodie, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende,  Makazole Mapimpi, Damian Willemse, Jaden Hendrikse,  Jasper Wiese, Franco Mostert, Siya Kolisi (capt),  Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff

Reserves: Deon Fourie, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, Kwagga Smith, Duane Vermeulen, Cobus Reinach, Frans Steyn, Warrick Gelant.

MATCH OFFICIALS: Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (NZR) Assistant Referees: Paul Williams (NZR)
Tual Trainini (FFR) TMO: Brendon Pickerill (NZR)

‘This one’s for you Hammer!’

R.E.S.P.E.C.T

Chalk one up for Lex & The Hammer, or so it would seem…..

Georgina Robinson reports in the SMH of a clandestine meeting held between RA’s Hammer & Co and the members of NZR took place last week in Adelaide. Yep, the same NZR members who backed Fozzie B Bear through to RWC 23, so we were never going to lose these negotiations against this lot – they seem to say ‘yes’ to anything!

GR goes on to say:

Crucially, New Zealand appears to have softened its stance towards Australia’s demand for an even split of broadcast revenue, signifying a victory for RA. New Zealand seemed likely to reject a 10-year deal, however, with the final agreement likely to be for a shorter period.

If the Adelaide confab was a success and a deal is done on the basis of a 50-50 split of broadcast revenue, it likely means RA convinced NZR that its next deal would be substantially fatter than the current $33 million per year arrangement with Stan and Nine, publishers of this masthead. Sky Sport pays NZR closer to $100m.

No doubt there will be twists, turns & tantrums to come, but if the above is true then respect RA, respect.

”Did you hear, we might be getting paid soon!’

SHOW ME SOME MONEY – PLEASE!

Given the article directly above I’d be remiss in not posting this next bit.

A quote from a Black Fern post match last week after the Wallaroos scored some scintillating tries and really stuck it to the Black Ferns in their second test really made my ears prick up and went something like:

‘I know how tough the girls have it over here (Australia)’. The theme really gained traction later when POTM, Emily Chancellor said on air ‘back to work Monday for us girls’. Now by ‘work’ Chancellor literally meant paying jobs outside of rugby.

Now I recall ‘news’ and ‘discussions’ out of RA earlier this year, like the one from The Guardian, regarding contracts for our female rugby athletes were advancing, so ‘if’ the SMH report above is accurate then surely, SURELY, the pieces of the puzzle are now complete to offer our female players fulltime professional contracts?

Generally, I’m confident in the stewardship of RA leadership (after all they didn’t actually hire Nathan Williamson, the poor sods simply ‘inherited’ him), however, should the rumours be proven around a reported $10 million dollar, 5 year deal to loig teenage winger – yes, winger – Joseph Sua’ali’i be true, then I, like many on here reserve the right to lambast RA mercilessly as it would be a completely tone deaf and truly dumb play, if proven. Unless of course he goes to the Tahs, in which case, it would seem an excellent investment.

We’ve all seen recently what smart investment and professionalism can do to the women’s game: 2016 Olympic Gold, 2018 Comms Games Silver, 2022 World Series Champs & Comm Games Gold, can there be any doubt that an appropriate investment in our 15 a side domestic & national women’s sides would be anything less than shrewd?

Say the $10m ‘offer’ just ain’t so RA, not until at least and well after, you sort out and correctly fund the women’s game in Oz.

Stay tuned.

‘You heard it here first eventually.’

FRIDAY’S GOSS WITH HOSS

Nearly the new Wallabies?

Interesting read from Paul Cully at stuff.co.nz saying that ‘NZ are the new Wallabies’. Not sure who he’s offending the most here? And besides Mr Cully, you should never interrupt an idiot while they’re (repeatedly) making a mistake #leavenzalone

Hoops hiatus

Moses has confirmed via the Nathan Williamson channel that Hoops will miss the Rugby Championship as he takes the time he needs to address his challenges. Good call by all and it’s great that all are on the same page with what’s best for Mr Hooper.

Piddling Pretorian profusely professes penitence.

It seems a Bok player has been caught ‘tackle out’ and expelling uric acid behind a tree during a training session at Randwick Boy’s High. The ‘Piddling Pedro’ was spotted by an unnamed source who just had to tell the media! Really! Honestly who among us has not been guilty of an urgent & pressing need relieve one’s self in a semi-quasi public space? Sure the manager at Coles wasn’t impressed with me, but when you gotta go, well……………….

No ‘nice Noah’ no more.

It seems Phil Collins is ‘too nice’ to people and the SMH reports his coaches are calling him to ‘drop the nice guy’ schtick. Maybe they could show him replays of the San Juan record loss over and over to turn him into a raging hate-filled rugby psycho? It did for me.

Whether tis nobler in the mind………..

Moses has been a bit like a constipated Shakespearean fan lately, ‘Tupou or not Tupou, that is the question’? Here he tells rugby.com.au (refreshingly) that they expect plenty more out of The Abattoir. Ahhh, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune indeed.

Cheik mate

When Cheik was challenged as to his team being ‘favourites’ for this week’s second test:

“Mate, we’re in New Zealand, like, playing against New Zealand,” he said. “I know you guys like to manoeuvre the story around but we’re about as underdog as you get.

I really like Cheik 2.0, maybe we should talk to him about………………..

Until next week. Go the Wallabies & sing it Madonna

Hoss – out.

Rugby

A Masters from the Uni of Life, majoring in BS. Call the Hunter Valley home and a passionate Wallabies, Tah's and then the also-rans of Oz rugby next. Yearn for the days when uppitty Kiwis knew their place - losing in dying stages of Bledisloe's or as garbage collectors.

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