Sorry for the delay today team. Been a busy week and I still haven’t managed to watch last weekend’s games yet – hopefully today. However, today we stop reminiscing about last week and start looking forward to this weekend. Can the Wallabies continue their good run? Will the ABs fall again, and if so what will this mean for Foster?
Wallabies focused on backing up ‘special’ performance
With a great start to the RC despite injuries, late withdrawals and a slow start the Wallabies are now concentrating on backing up this week and maintaining top spot in the RC
Last week was a pretty good win that meant a lot with Folau Fainga’a saying “That’s probably top five (performances), it’s a pretty special one with the week we’ve had as a playing group and the courage the boys had to put that performance together in front of a sold-out crowd was special,”
He particularly credited Dan McKellar with the work on the maul and getting this right so that it could be used as a weapon. Seeing as how they got 3 of their 5 tries, including a penalty try this way it certainly seems to have worked.
Some big decisions for DR and co moving forward and while the logical solution is to start Lolesio it will be interesting to see what they do for the 10 backup. I am not convinced that Hodge is the answer and while I agree on his versatility I think his overall form has dropped quite a lot and for every position he could play there are at least two players who are better. Of course there is the option of having JOC come in as another player who can play 10 and other positions but for my mind I think it’s time to bring another specialist into the squad and start building some depth. Unfortunately 10 and 15 remain short of options.
All Blacks wait on injuries to Jordie, Beauden Barrett
New Zealand are waiting on the fitness of brothers Beauden and Jordie Barrett ahead of the All Blacks’ decisive second Test away to South Africa this Saturday. Ahead of Saturday’s second and final test against South Africa in Johannesburg, All Blacks playmaker Beauden Barrett is nursing a neck injury while goal-kicker Jordie has an ankle knock. “Jordie has a bad ankle. (Beauden) went for a scan on his neck, which is clear. We will make a decision on that later in the week, but he is still a bit sore,” Foster told reporters. Not the end of the world for me as there is a lot of depth with Richie Mo’unga and Will Jordan being more than capable of stepping up (some even think they should be 1st pick) and players like Perofeta as a back up so losing these two won’t change a lot. The issue with the ABs is more in the game plan and on field tactics than the individual players anyway.
Lots of pressure on both Foster and Cane this weekend after a disastrous run that has seen the ABs lose five of their last six games. It’s certainly been interesting reading all the articles, comments and blogs on the current situation. It seems that the deep sense of insecurity brought on by years of teams losing to the ABs more than they win has certainly been given an outlet for some people to vent their feelings, some I think should actually seek help to deal with their despair but that’s their issue not mine. The only thing I’d say to those Wallaby fans already talking about winning the RC and getting the Bledisloe cup back is to remember that you have won 1 game against a team coached by the only international coach with a worse record than the AB coach so I wouldn’t get too excited yet.
What will be interesting for me is if the ABs do lose again in SA and Foster departs from the job, who will step up and under what conditions. I personally think that there are 5 or 6 players who due to performance, culture and attitude shouldn’t be in the squad. I’m not sure any new coach, be it Scott Robertson or Joe Schmidt will want to retain the same players picked by Foster and co at the start of this competition. How that pans out could be quite an interesting tale.
Fijian star signs for the Waratahs on a one year deal
The Waratahs have confirmed the signing of robust Fijian wing Nemani Nadolo on a one-year deal for the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season. It won’t be the first time that Nadolo has called Sydney home after being on the Waratahs roster in 2009 before moving on to find more game time. The wing had previously worked with Darren Coleman in the Fijian set-up when Nadolo made his debut in 2010 and Coleman was part of the national coaching staff.
Coleman welcomed the hard runner back to the Waratahs and looked forward to the attributes Nadolo can bring to his side. “We’ve all seen what Nemani has done in World Rugby in the last ten years and it’s incredibly exciting to have him in a sky-blue jersey,” Coleman said. “One of the things we identified from our season review was the need to add some size and power to our roster, and Nemani brings a lot of size and physicality which will add an extra dimension to our team…”
An interesting move by Coleman and there certainly seems to be a move to bringing players back into the fold. I’m not sure that the biggest issue with the Tahs last season was the outside backs and unless there are other moves yet to come I think they are still a bit light in the forwards. However, it will be good to see Nadolo back and if he can get some ball in space he is pretty awesome.
Cooper speaks after serious injury
Wallabies veteran Quade Cooper is preparing for the long road to recovery after going down with a serious Achilles tendon injury in Australia’s hard-fought 41-26 Rugby Championship win over Argentina. In the second half of the Mendoza Test on Sunday (AEST), 34 year old Cooper went down with the non-contact injury that has cast doubt over his 2023 Rugby World Cup hopes and future in the sport.
On Monday morning (AEST), Cooper released a statement on social media and said he was steeling himself for recovery. “Ready and prepared for this journey,” he wrote on Instagram. “Doesn’t mean it will be easy but I know I’ve prepared myself for the challenge ahead by building systems and habits to guide me through each obstacle on my path.”
Cooper thanked teammates, opponents and fans for rallying around him. “Want to thank both my teammates and the Argentinian players for their support and care when I got injured,” he added. “My teammates who continue to help me learn and grow each day I will miss you all but be supporting your journey as I continue mine. Our coaches for believing in me and continuing to push my growth. Our medical team who put so much time and energy into each and everyone of us. To the fans your (messages) of support have not gone unnoticed.”
Now I read that and the first thought that came to me was that maybe both QLD and Australia have missed the boat a bit with Quade in not bringing him on formally as a leader. I know 10 is not a common captain’s position with most people thinking the player has so much to do that the burden of being captain might hold them back. However, when I look at the redemption of this guy, see how he interacts with players, supporters and coaches and then get to read such a strong statement. I think he’s demonstrating a lot of leadership attributes that may be missing from others in those teams.