‘Lookout Queensland, here I come’ (said no dentist ever).
G’day G&GRs and welcome to Friday.
I have my bags packed, Wallaby supporters kit ready, drinks at the airport lounge to hook into and on my way north. So let’s get it on today and revisit Test #1 v the artful Soap Dodgers with ‘You’re Welcome Australia’. Preview Test #2 with the ‘The Battle of Brisbane’. Look at this weekend’s other tests involving the big four SH sides in ‘Southern Sweep’. Plus your exclusive invite to a pre-test, G&GR member only soiree with ‘Friends in Low Places’ and bring it all home with ‘Friday’s Goss with Hoss’, hoping against hope Queensland Border security this time have at least cut their nails and taken off their wrist watches. Beautiful one day, damn cavity search the next.
You’re Welcome Australia!
A moment if you will.
Now that the euphoria has subsided and with the setting of the warm victors sun that doth sit gently on the cheek of Orange fans, let me be blunt. The Wallabies really didn’t play great and will need to improve significantly for round deux.
Now before you blow a gasket and ‘harrumph’ away, I’m not talking about ‘character’ or ‘resilience’ or ‘effort’ or any of those buzz words, I’m talking pure rugby performance. In fact, I’d go as far to say the teams overall score on the official Hossometer was a 6.5 outta 10.
I’m not saying those in Orange played poorly, but would that performance have beaten France or NZ? Nosirrreee Bob. So the positive for me is that while they were just ‘ok’, they still found a way to win, which to be fair, recent Wallaby sides haven’t been able to do and would have ended uglier than a Boris Johnson press conference. So, imagine if this week the Orange ones play outta their skins and show those same gritty traits from last week, now we’re talking.
And improve the Orange ones must, for sure as shite, those who are soap adverse from up north will not play that poorly again. The POMs really had that match at their mercy and to be frank, fluffed their lines.
The vaunted Engerlund forward pack were ok, but scarcely the huge scary beasts we had been led to believe. Their locks, Mario ‘The Banshee’ Itoje &
Benny Jonny ‘The Scalper’ Hill barely made a dent, well apart from riling up Lurch. Their #10, ‘Quade Junior’ stood so deep in attack he probably now has a case of ‘the bends’. ‘Shoulders’ Farrell did not do much, Nowell made one decent run and that was about that. Yet for all of this the game was theirs for the taking, but………………
Don’t get me wrong, I lurrrrved the win and that we saw resolve, real steely resolve from our boys and that can only be a great thing. BUT, the Poms won’t play nearly as bad this week, Eddie will have plans A-Z up his sleeve and our boys must also take it up a notch to take the win & the series. I’ll be there in the stands screaming my lungs out and riding every tackle, pass & decision and also likely nursing Yowie (two shandies is his limit). Poor pet.
THE BATTLE OF
Last chance saloon or beginning of redemption? Either way I reckon we are all in for a treat.
What a cracking match this shapes as being. A wounded and under siege English coach & side who seriously underperformed over in the west, against a side hit with mounting injuries, players back from extended injury layoffs and with ‘single number test’ players sprinkled across the starting XV. Adding to the anticipation, all this to unfold at ‘Fortress Australia’ Suncorp Stadium, where the Wallabies haven’t lost since 1936-ish.
So what do we expect to happen? Glad you asked.
The SDs will play ‘tighter’ as a forward pack, be more physical and direct and as Dr Evil has hinted, I expect Quade Jnr to play flatter, much flatter, almost at the gain line, for it was last week when he ‘flattened up’ that the Poms looked sharp and indeed had their best try scoring opportunity of the first half off such a play, only to be foiled by MK’s epic tackle.
The selection of Underhill will bolster England’s presence around the paddock. Every ruck will be heavily contested, rest assured there’ll be no ‘cheap’ or ‘easy’ possession for our Orange Warriors this Saturday and it’s here our 6-8 need to meet that physical challenge and ensure quality ball for The Lip and Noah.
As for our Wallabies? Taniela ‘The Abattoir’ Tupou returns to the run-on side, but may well be short a gallop, so I would only expect to see 45-50 minutes from him. Make no mistake, we will miss 7As’ work ethic, defence and carries. Sure Tupou can make some big runs & does have some silky skills for a big man. But equally he can be a bit of a ‘walker’ during games, slow back in defence and ‘clock off’ for large chunks of games. Contrast that to 7As who gets through a mountain of work, both sides of the ball and whose set-piece is always excellent AND without attracting scrutiny of match officials for his scrum technique. With Gus ‘The Bull’ Bell on one side of the scrum good for a few penalties, a ‘rookie’ rake and a prop that has a tendency to bore in more than the West Connex tunnel driller, then discipline will be paramount, especially in early scrums to, as Nutta says, ‘paint the right picture’ for the match officials for the duration of the game.
So to the loosies and, for mine, the three who decide if we win or lose this game.
Last week I thought Hoops largely had a quiet first half by his standards. Not bad, or mistake-ridden, just not the level of involvement I’m used to seeing from him. But come the second half and cometh our leader. He was like a Federal Liberal polly at a Chinese business function, he had his snout in everything. Wherever the ball was or went, here was our skipper either making yards, or killing Pommy ball and winning us vital turnovers when we needed it most.
Make no mistake, Hoops was well supported by Sideshow Bob Valetini and Rob ‘The Mule’ Leota. Indeed it didn’t get a lot of coverage, but watch Sideshow Bob run straight over the top of Curry in the first half, leaving Curry sprawled on the deck wondering what just hit him. Add to that everything Leota did had real sting and grunt in it and in Lee Majors, Sideshow & The Mule, we have found a well-balanced, big, mobile and effective loose trio. Just where that leaves Dirty Harry Wilson in the pecking order is a discussion for another time.
With a new back three combo, I would expect the Poms to send a lot of high balls and kicks in general their way to pressure them, pin them and allow the loosies to cause havoc. There is no doubting the talent or desire of our back three, it’s just their collective ‘understanding’ of when to kick-run-pass, their rugby maturity and big game experience that’s lacking. Something Andrew Kellaway delivered in spades last week and he will be a bigger loss to the Wallabies than many realise.
I fully expect that this game really will be ‘on’ from the get-go. It will be attritional, it will be fast, furious and a roller coaster of momentum & emotions, with the result unlikely to be clear until the dying stages.
Fearless Prediction: Wallabies by 6 in an epic battle. ‘Simples’.
Could the powerhouses of the Northern Hemisphere leave the shores of the South having to do a parting ‘nudie run’ for winning zero tests? Well yes, yes they could.
New Zealand v Ireland
Last week I tipped a 2-1 result for the series for The Nearlies, but to be honest that was based on the Oirish pinching the first one. If there’s one thing us Wallaby fans know, probably better than anyone else in world rugby, is that the Kiwis only get better after their first run and if you’re gonna get ’em, you need to get ’em first.
While Oirland were on fire for the first 20 minutes and were possibly only a Beauden Barrett intercept away from going 12-zip up, they proceeded to get their backsides handed to them over the next 60 minutes. All this from a UnZud squad that had a disruptive week AND had players unavailable with the Panda Flu.
While Oirland welcome back some cattle for this one & skipper Sexton is fit to play, I simply can’t see them rolling the Kiwis, who have their tails up, more players to choose from and on their home patch. The lads in emerald were not without their moments or stand out players in test #1. Hooker Dan Sheehan was outstanding, as too stand in skipper Peter O’Mahony, when not impersonating Welsh
whinger skipper Dan Biggar in the whining stakes. Oirland will be better for their run and they will now know what level they must attain to challenge the dark lords. But going toe-to-toe with NZ for 20 minutes is a whole different animal than doing it for 80 minutes and holding on to beat them at home, with their tails up and a series lead and chance to win the series? Well, good luck with that.
To be any chance the Oirish will need more out of their proven stars and leadership from the likes of Sexton and Furlong. On that front Furlong, looked like the man who ate Furlong, he, well, umm, looked, ‘well out of nick’ would be the politest way I could state it. I understand the TV camera tends to ‘add’ 10-15 pounds to a players physique, but just how many cameras were pointed at him??? Mack Hansen makes the starting XV after injury and they will desperately need his involvement and spark to help them be any chance.
Will it be enough though for Oirland to win?
Fearless Prediction: No. A better Ireland, but a better NZ also. Nearlies by 20.
South Africa v Wales
According to this planetrugby.com report, South African coach Jacques Nienaber is surely taking the mickey when he makes 14 changes to his starting 15 ain’t he? It’s basically Afrikaans for ‘Wales are shite anyway, so we will give a few newbies a run’.
I must admit I watched the ‘highlights’ only and not the full replay (by the way Stan – love the options you have for watching replays, from full version to ‘mini’ – great stuff), but it ‘seemed’ like penalty-fest and a certain poetic justice that the biggest whinger in world rugby, Dan Biggar, gives up the match winning penalty and gets cheesed for it. Just on that, Biggar’s post game comment was gold, that ‘the ball just hit my hand, I didn’t slap it down’, almost insinuating the guy who passed it should get pinged instead was atypical of this oversized sook.
That aside, if a team that only just snuck a win against at times, only 12 Welsh players, feels it can make fourteen changes to a starting XV then I can’t read that any other way then they couldn’t care a tinkers-cuss about the threat that the Northern Sheep Lovers present. Confidence, arrogance, or a ‘Hansie Cronje special’, only time will tell I guess. But for mine The Catholics will wrap up the series and Dan will be left throwing more toys out of the cot, again.
Fearless Prediction: The Pope’s Lot – by 21.
Argentina v Scotland
Viva Los Pumas!
Argentina had their tails up and played some lovely, attacking and aggressive rugby, while Scotland played like, well, Scotland.
Second test, at home, confident, happy and with Cheik in his honeymoon period I can’t go past the FISMs to wrap up the series 2-0 this Saturday. Especially as The Haggis Luvvas are without Finn Russell & Stuart Hogg, their most dangerous attacking players.
Fearless Prediction: FISMs by 12.
All matches times & coverage details on Stan.
FRIENDS IN LOW PLACES
Blame it all on my roots, I showed up in boots and ruined your black tie affair.…
Shout out to any G&GR faithful who might want to join us at The Gresham Bar tonight in Brisbane CBD from 6:30pm. A few G&GR ‘writers‘ (yeah, I tried not to laugh typing it too) are getting together and have a table booked so if you enjoy whisky and
crap scintillating rugby conversation and would like to put a face to the avatar, drop on by.
I remember a few years back a few G&GR followers attended the first one (whatever happened to you John Tynan?) and a roaring time and significant hangovers were had by all.
Don’t worry about how you recognise us at the venue. Keith’s number is 0407 ‘TIGHT-WAD’ & Yowie’s is 0462 ‘CRY-BABY’ so you can call us when you’re there. Or alternatively, just ask the staff behind the bar to point you in the direction of Hoss, I am kinda hard to miss (picture Jabba the Hut and John Candy having a child, or if Furlong really let himself go).
Hope to say g’day, shout you a water and watch you try and hide the complete & utter disappointment on your face as you instantly regret your decision to join us.
FRIDAY’S GOSS WITH HOSS.
What cheeses me off!
Can somebody, anybody, tell me please – why?
What do the Wallabies gain, when their opponents have the dreaded ‘caterpillar’ ruck well-formed for the #9 to box kick, why oh bloody why do our players insist on slamming into this pile of humanity, when it’s one v many? Invariably the one or two in orange slam into this pile of heaving, sweaty humanity, get held/dragged into it by their opponents for good measure and therefore are now late to rejoin the defensive line or next ruck, maul or play? Whisky Tango Foxtrot is that?
Why wouldn’t one go ‘bugger it’, 6-8 of their forward are usually engaged in the pile up, giving us the chance to form a ‘whole’ defensive line? It drives me batty and usually swearing at the LG – what gives?
Let them eat cake
SMH reports our 7s girls are pumped for gold at this months Commonwealth Games. After collecting silver to the NZ girls on the Gold Coast in 2018 (a game I was at and one of the most enthralling rugby matches I have ever seen) our girls reckon gold ‘should be a peace of cake’. Go well ladies.
Joe Marler fan club
Ok, so big Joe ain’t everyone’s cup of tea, but in a world of pre-programmed robots giving interviews, I quite enjoy Joe’s sense of humour. Check out his tweet prior to Test #1 and then his tweet after the game. There’s also a Youtube video called ’10 minutes of Joe Marler being Joe Marler’ if you want a giggle. Still love his ‘Irish horse’ bit.
‘Paralysis by analysis’
You decide for yourself as Mark Reason poses this on stuff.co.nz
Smile & wave boys, smile & wave.
Seems Pete Samu is a fan of animated classics when he tells the SMH the best way to ignore the SDs to his teammates in the face of any further Pommy niggle, is to smile & wave. What chance any niggle from a side coached by Dr Evil…………
Not drowning, waving?
More on this to come I reckon, but what’s going on at the Reds? Hamish Stewart is signed with them, but allegedly going to Melbourne – refuted by the QRU via twitter? Rumblings from within the player group. Another shite year v the Sheep Shagger sides, few players in the Orange XXIII and seemingly a group lacking unity. Watch this space I reckon.
That’s it from me, see you at The Gresham or Suncorp and Go the Wallabies!
Take it away Garth (20 seconds in).
Hoss – out.