Bonjour et bienvenue au Vendredi!
Hello rugby lovers, it’s Friday again & time to take on world #2 (but for mine the best in the world), Les Bleus this Sunday. But before then, let’s pick at the scab of Scotland losing last week (I refuse to accept the Wallabies ‘won’ that game) in ‘What a fool believes’. Jump across the channel and preview the test with France in ‘Those Indomitable Gauls’. Hop onboard the Aussie & NZ love-bus with ‘The Spirit of Anzac’. Sort fact from fabric fantasy in ‘Merinos’ Fart Dollars’ and put a full stop on the working week with ‘Friday’s Goss with Hoss’, currently crowd funding at #liposuctionaintcheap
WHAT A FOOL BELIEVES.
One can’t look to the French game without firstly a look to the rear view mirror of last Saturday’s
abomination match against the Scots. To paraphrase the Lord Mayor of Hiroshima, ‘what the bloody hell was that?’
Dropped balls, fluffed passes, forwards MIA at ruck time, poor options, dreadful kicks, box kicks to nowhere, kicks out on the full, penalty touch finders making 12 metres, dumb penalties, I’d assumed I must’ve suffered another brain injury and awoke again in 2018? And to think I got outta bed early to watch this shite! Shame on me, not again though.
But the real sickening part of the display for mine was the way Wallaby players behaved. I’m talking arms waving and flapping around every time they got cleaned out, penalised or tackled. What’s with Julia Roberts & The Ginja Ninja in particular? Porecki’s blind obsession with banging into the opposition caterpillar ruck, having zero bloody impact, other than taking himself out of the defensive line, and constantly looking at the ref and waving his arms about is simply maddening. Dave, a tip if I may, you don’t impact the ball, you don’t impact the kick, you usually get held in by an opposing forward anyway and yet you constantly look at the ref like some lost puppy deserving of some reward or treat. Mate, grow up, get smart and ‘read the room’. Let them collapse in a heap, while you get in the defensive line to offer some actual value to your teammates on ball return.
Roll forward to Mr Kellaway and he also seems to imbibed a few too many ‘angry pills’ as well. Every tackle (made or received) every kick, actually every interaction he had during the Scottish test was accompanied by soccer-type histrionics! Add to that he was, by his own standards and our expectations, exceedingly poor and it wouldn’t bother me if he had missed the XXIII altogether this weekend.
As if our performance and execution of skills wasn’t already hard to watch, our discipline was even worse. The Abattoir’s brain snap at the end that should have cost us the match, The Squatter getting marched 10 for backchat, the ref telling Slips ‘there’re a hell of a lot of captains out here mate’ and a fairly detailed picture emerges of an undisciplined rabble. Of a team perhaps not entirely at peace with itself. Maybe that’s the pressure to perform, to win, to keep their coach? But whatever it is, it’s manifesting itself as palpable anxiety (and offending) on the field.
Certainly the performance and team discipline was horrendous and for mine it’s not enough to say ‘we’ll bank the win’ or ‘we are relieved’, that’s moving deck chairs on the party boat ‘Titanic’, sure the view might be better, but you’re still sinking.
I had believed that these Wallabies were capable of more than they delivered against Scotland. What a fool believes, hey.
THOSE INDOMITABLE GAULS.
Which brings us to this week. Why do I feel like the Romans must have felt from my much loved tales of Asterix & Obelix right now? Why can’t I shake a serious sense of foreboding and almost an acquiescence to the fact that Wallabies selectors have completely and utterly lost their collective minds?
What the hell are the selectors doing? What exactly does Spanners need to do to get dropped? Or Paisami for that matter? What is it that we don’t know about what this pair offer? Have they not been tried and came up short? Same with Hodge? He was poo domestically and just because he can ‘cover’ a ‘range of positions’ doesn’t mean he should be in the side at all? Bugger me, I can cover a range of roles too and I am shite at all of them. Husband, father, senior exec – tick, tick, tick. Any good at any of them? No bloody chance.
Why take Lolesio on this tour at all? Somebody, hell anybody, please tell me? If he’s no good, why take him, if he is any good, why not play him? I can live with either decision, but you can’t be half bloody pregnant can you? You either are or you aren’t! So ’tis with Noah, is he good enough or not? Make a call and stick with it. Why pick Donaldson as a backup #10 so we could pick Foley or Hodge ahead of him? Why grandstand about how ‘Skelton will start all three tests’ to have him on the bench and play a likely (injuries aside) 20 minutes? Not only that, but play 20 minutes against the very players he bullies for 80 minutes each week up north! We then go, ‘well he didn’t do much’. No bloody shit Sherlock! He isn’t an impact player, he’s a 140kg blunt instrument and should be used accordingly. He’s not a scalpel for ‘incisions’ but a wrecking ball for large scale demolition works.
Why start Tupou? The same guy who should have cost us the game last week? Is it because 5 years ago he had potential and has delivered exactly diddly squat since? Is it because he might have a blinder, or is due to come good? Be interesting to have a camera on The Abattoir for this one and measure his deeds and deduct his sins, basically, what did he contribute overall?
Tom Banks is out injured and I must state I didn’t really notice Tom having any noticeable impact last week paving the way to Jock Campbell to get his debut start in #15. Tom Wright, who as best I can tell is a paid tourist, ’cause he certainly hasn’t proven to be a test quality winger, keeps his spot & Andrew Kellaway is lucky (see above) to keep his jersey after a very ‘sub-par’ outing last week. I welcome the return of Foketi to the #12 jersey. I thought he and Ikitau were a terrific pairing in the RC until Foketi got injured. I believe he tore a throat muscle screaming at Spanners to ‘kick it out’ in Melbourne…
Dave Rennie’s own selection conservatism is his pending doom Gaggers. He is so constipated by his conservatism at the selection table that he makes Tony Abbott look like a pot smoking, tree hugging ‘moderate’. Though not deliberate, Rennie’s narrow view of all things Wallabies, perversely sets his own players up to fail. He is blinded by ‘Rennie Ball’ whatever that hybrid monster is supposed to be. The same game plan that has so far delivered <40% win rate during his tenure. But here we are still trying to shoe-horn players into whatever this ‘game plan’ is, at the expense of best utilising the talent he has and designing a game plan around those talents!
For Australia to be any chance and I mean any chance, players 1-23 must deliver 7.5 – 8 player ratings on the ‘Hossometer’. Do that and they are a mug’s chance. But when has this Wallaby unit shown that cohesions, engagement, execution and discipline this year, apart from 30 minutes in Adelaide that is? Well, it will require 85 minutes of that type of performance to get home against this imperious French side and these seemingly Indomitable Gauls. And for shits and giggles, Jaco Peyper is the ref, too. Yay.
James Slipper, Dave Porecki, Taniela Tupou, Nick Frost, Cadeyrn Neville, Jed Holloway, Michael Hooper, Rob Valetini, Nic White, Bernard Foley, Tom Wright, Lalakai Foketi, Len Ikitau, Andrew Kellaway, Jock Campbell. Replacements: Folau FaInga’a, Matt Gibbon, Tom Robertson, Will Skelton, Pete Samu, Jake Gordon, Hunter Paisami, Reece Hodge.
Baille, Marchand, Atonio, Woki, Flament, Jelonch, Alldritt, Ollivon, Dupont, Ntamack, Moefana, Danty, Fickou, Penaud, Ramos. Replacements: Mauvaka, Priso, Falatea, Taofifenua R, Geraci, Macalou, Lucu, Jalibert
- Referee: Jaco Peyper (SARU)
- Assistant Referee 1: Ben O’Keeffe (NZR)
- Assistant Referee 2: Craig Evans (WRU)
- TMO: Tom Foley (RFU)
Fearless prediction: A French flogging. Les Bleus by 19.
THE ANZAC SPIRIT?
You know, there’s nothing that girds the loins of each nation more than evoking that holiest of bonds, our ANZAC kinship. Our history of spilling blood together to stare down and defeat tyranny. Of the eternal brotherhood forged on distant lands during those hellfire days of 1915 and those since, that see our two distant Pacific nations forever linked as kindred souls. The values we share of decency, honesty, togetherness, of always lending a hand, of doing what’s right and the strength of our democracies should stand as beacons of success and give pause for ‘hope’ in a world looking eerily similar to that of the 1930s.
But, if those sheep-rooting, scaffold erecting, dole bludging, perpetual rugby cheats think they’re going to take our spots in the the proposed ANZAC v FUKIRS ‘test’, well those limey mongrels got another thing coming. Not since NZ forced Trevor Chappell to bowl underarm has there been the potential for such sporting ‘tension’, nay ‘chasm’ between our great land and their sheep-infested poxy outcrops.
Indeed the chicanery has already commenced with rugby scribes around the globe already penning ‘possible’ ANZAC sides. Now riddle me this, how could you possibly name a side now when there are still so many Tahs yet to be discovered?
Some preliminary suggestions already include:
Christy Doran FUX Sports (who clearly is allowed to drink heavily on lunch breaks)
1.Angus Bell 2. Billy Pollard 3. Taniela Tupou 4. Nick Frost 5. Tupou Vaa’i 6. Akira Ioane 7. Ardie Savea 8.Rob Valetini 9.Folau Fakatava 10.Richie Mo’unga 11. Jordan Petaia 12. Samu Kerevi 13. Rieko Ioane 14. Mark Nawaqanitawase 15. Joseph Suaalii RESERVES 16. Samisoni Taukei’aho 17. George Bower. 18 Tyrel Lomax 19. Darcy Swain 20. Charlie Gamble 21.Tate McDermott 22. Reesjan Pasitoa 23. Will Jordan
1.James Slipper 2. Samisoni Taukei’aho 3. Taniela Tupou 4. Sam Whitelock 5. Brodie Retallick 6. Rob Valetini 7. Michael Hooper 8. Ardie Savea 9. Aron Smith 10. Richie Mo’onga 11. Marika Koroibete 12 Samu Kerevi 13. Reiko Ionae 14. Will Jordan 15. Jordie Barrett. Reserves: None nominated
I think you can see it really is an interesting debate for sure with hypotheticals galore. Who’ll still be around (Jimmy Slips, Hoops and the Hodors are not likely to be & if they are, will age and form have caught up?), who’ll be injured, who’ll be coach, who’ll come from nowhere over the next three years and so on? Even more so, who’ll be selectors?
What I think is really smart from RA is the use of the concept as a retention/negotiation tool as well to retain players on Oz soil or alternatively, perhaps shorten any overseas stints. Also a fairly handy negotiation ‘cue’ to have in the rack for, I don’t know, post RWC2023.
With reports that New Zealand Rugby boss Mark Robinson saying they are “aligned in principle” what’s not to like about the concept. A viewing audience of billions, a stadium with 100k rabid fans, the passion of the AB fan combined with the anticipation of the ‘home’ crowd coupled with the noise and banter of the four home nations. SRP negotiations!
Yep, I’m in. Sully, surely G&GR will need a group of writers on site for the week to do justice to the event? Just saying.
MERINOS’ FART DOLLARS.
Last week I got a most unusual email from RA with seaweed, a ninja & sheep as its central theme. At first I thought ‘no, not again’ after the trauma of opening KARL’s last email of a similar ‘sheep’ thread (that turned out to be his 2023 ‘NZ Kama Sutra Calendar’) and being completely scarred by the photos of ‘Miss Jan-ewe-ary’, you would forgive me my complete apprehension and PTSD evoking nervousness.
Stay with me here.
It seems the Ginger Ninja, Mr Andrew Kellaway, when not busy gesticulating at match officials, is an RA Ambassador for MJ Bale. No harm in that at all, guy’s gotta eat, RA’s gotta get partners and with ‘contra’ arrangements or goods in lieu of cash, everyone is satisfied with the partnership, MJ Bale wants a high profile athlete and organisation to promote its wares. All perfectly reasonable. I would add that the hashtag #’playlikecrapbutlookgoodafterwards’ needs some workshopping, but so far so good, right? Well to paraphrase Kirk Lazarus, no it wasn’t, for someone at MJ Bale marketing ‘just went full retail, you should never go full retail’.
The Origins of the ‘legend‘
It would appear MJ Bale has come across the CSIRO research that feeding livestock granulated seaweed almost completely eradicates methane from their flatulence and, let’s face, it sheep flatulence is the number one* reason for failed relationships in NZ (*2022 NZ Census). So good for the environment and good for romance across the dutch. So far so good, right? Well, no, simply the beginning of the fable that is ‘The Lightest Footprint’.
It seems these windy wooly-backs were then shorn of their prized fleece (using coal-fired electricity to power the shears, but this wasn’t included in the fable?). This fleece, now so pure, so virgin, so completely carbon neutral (excepting for coal-fired electricity used so far), was then whisked away to a waiting wooden boat, to be sailed to the mainland, again without the need to burn any fossil fuels to get here. A voyage of love, of lanolin, of legend.
Like any voyage, their were perils and challenges to be had. But under the watchful eye of a Himalayan Sherpa, who recited tantric incarnations, while burning vanilla-flavoured soy candles and with Enya’s Orinoco Flow continually being played on pan flute, the serenity and zen required to soothe this inanimate object was maintained. The fleece arrived, unsullied, unpolluted, unviolated and on to its next voyage.
The bike ride to beyond.
Once a ‘welcome to country’ was held for the fleece of the introduced
pest species (largely responsible for the complete degradation of native lands and animals and the culling of First Nation people who dared defend their lands from colonial sheep graziers), the next stage of what had now, through osmosis become more than wool, but had morphed into ‘The Lightest Footprint’, was to transport it, by bicycle, to the dwelling of a mystic weaver (long thought to be extinct after weavers of Australia were moved offshore to Asia so small children could have the joy and privilege of a fair day’s work for little pay and lethal conditions) who lived in the foothills of the remote Victorian peoples. Using a loom said to have been powered by the kinetic energy of all weavers who came before and not from the carbon spewing Newport Power Station just down the road, the fleece flung to life. Artisans’ hands, wizards and legend intertwined to give this fabric life.
From the seaweed infused foods of a far away isle, the tantric chantings of a third generation sherpa, the creaking and groaning of a wooden ship as it lurched towards the big island, the artistry from the hands of fabric denizens and, finally, this initial offering from the flatulating livestock was ready to live again. The Lightest Footprint was born
Loaded onto diesel trucks, that spew carbon & poisonous vapours across suburban streets so this lustrous lanolin could nestle upon the shelves of MJ Bale and its retail purveyors. Sitting under shop light, possibly behind treated glass, so infused light dare not violate its integrity, or that the hands of the great unwashed may not sully its purity, this sacred golden fleece sat serenely.
The last part of the journey involves the transport of this pious product to your door. No doubt via Tibetan yak, chaperoned by a native villager, both living on the purity of natural spring water, imbued with the broth of garden moss to sustain them for the journey to your door so that you may celebrate the sheep’s offering, the artisans’ contributions, Mr Kellaway’s pay packet and become one with the universe via ‘The Lightest Footprint’.
Don’t believe me, then check the story for yourself at M.J. Bale itself. And people reckon I’m full of shite. But I have always enjoyed a good yarn though.
FRIDAY’S GOSS WITH HOSS.
Nearly 11 Changes
Fozzie B bear has named his side to
lose face Wales this weekend. More records for the ABs? stuff.co.nz has the team.
The Force be with you.
Everyone’s least favourite Australian side, Western something, have named a 32 player squad to take on the Japan Rugby League One side Urayasu D-Rocks in a two match tour of Japan. New coach (and Tah discard) Simon Cron has rewarded several local products as part of his squad for the tour and all noises out of WA point to The Force, under Cron, being the team to watch this coming season. More from rugby.com.au
It’s the vibe
One good news story from last week was the debut of Jock Campbell. Hard to find many on here who weren’t glad to see Jock finally get a deserved run in orange. Thoroughly deserving for the hard working and underrated Reds #15. Good read on the SMH here about his parents flight to catch his debut coupled with an injury that could have meant they travelled in vain. Well done, Jock, and congrats to a proud mum & dad!
Watched this on twitter with Wallaroos coach Jay Tregonning after our girls bid the 21 RWC farewell last week. Bit hard not to feel his mixture of pride, pain and frustration all interwoven into his response. One thing’s clear: our girls deserve better from AR. Much better and, equally, look at our 7s women successes and what they did with funding, support, funding, structures & funding. Anyone else see a pattern here?
Don’t look away. It’s rugby nirvana this weekend. STAN has you covered with coverage of all autumn internationals LIVE. All times AEDT
- Scotland v Fiji Sat, 05 Nov 11:50pm for 12:00am kick off Murrayfield Stadium
- Wales v NZ Sun, 06th Nov 2.00am for 2.15am kick off Principality Stadium
- Ireland v South Africa Sun, 06 Nov 4:20am kick off 4:30am Aviva Stadium
- France v Australia Sun, 06 Nov 6:40am kick off 7:00am Stade de France
- England v Argentina. Mon, 07 Nov 1:05am kick off 1:15am Twickenham
Until next week. Go the, ahhh what’s the point.
‘Sail away, sail away, sail away’
Hoss – out.