Happy Monday, GAGRs! I trust that your weekends have been well spent. If you’re lucky enough to live in
Mexico Melbourne, Happy Cup Day on Tuesday (or Nup to the Cup Day… though I expect you to be at work if you don’t like it) and, if you were smart, happy Monday off, too! Nothing like a public holiday with nice weather to get rid of the lock-down cobwebs! Today we’ll have a gander at the AI tests, my take on the Wallabies news from this week and a preview of the week to come in rugger.
Wallabies Officials Left Red-faced
Well, I hate to say I told you* so…….
But I fucking told you so!
*the people that thought selecting foreign-based players was a good idea.
The Wallabies have managed to shoot themselves in the foot yet again when it comes to communication with their own players. The wagons have been circling around the truth… whatever that actually is…. for the last week or so since the Japanese-based trio of Cooper, Kerevi and McMahon all elected to stay loyal to their clubs rather than play for the Wallabies during the AIs.
I don’t begrudge them the fact that they have chosen the overseas dosh. For Cooper, there was no other option but to continue his career in Japan as it was clear that Rugby AU had no use for him under the Clown’s administration/Thorn’s plans. Cooper still qualifies under the ‘Giteau Law’ in any case. For McMahon, whilst many clubs and rugby aficionados were keen to have him in Australia, he was at the time stuck behind Hardcock (Hooper, Fardy, Pocock) and left. For Kerevi/McMahon, it was with the knowledge that they would not be eligible for Australia in the interim period.
The lack of foresight by RA officials in now absolutely nailing down their squad before naming it is unprofessional and short-sighted. The go-ahead or otherwise for the AIs ought to have been locked down weeks ago. Indeed, a player’s availability for the AIs ought to have been a pre-requisite for playing at all over the July series. What should not have been allowed to happen is the shit fight that has happened this week where players pulled out literally whilst they were getting on a plane. Furthermore it has caused ramifications for players left in Australia as well as the players currently in the squad.
This coming weekend we are coming up against a Scotland team that is a historic banana-skin match. Now, whilst we have players coming back (Ro Arnold, Latu and Skelton) into a forward pack that is mis-firing at times, we are not horrifically light on in the backs. Enough has been said about Beale for a whole other post. As a team collective though, we still are yet to hit any form of ‘perfect game’, or, at least, a game where everything clicks. The loss of these players, in these positions, with their experience and having enjoyed the game time over the past month and a half that others now severely lack, will bite us firmly upon our arses. I would be disappointed, but, in all honesty, not at all surprised if Australia loses this weekend (and perhaps a few more matches). This would be a brutal smack-down for a side on the bounce of five wins; however, at the end of the day, the entire RA organisation MUST be on the same page.
Now, it’s no point offering up “I told you sos” without offering any form of practicable solution. My solution: bloody well talk to each other! I appreciate that the ‘Kerevi Law’ was something new and untried. I still an absolutely opposed to the ‘law’. I would still like to see top players offered sabbaticals with Japanese-based clubs on the proviso they are able to play in the AIs. Until the contracting model changes though, we must work with what we have.
Autumn Internationals Week One
Well, neither of the results from last night were unexpected…
New Zealand dicked (hehehe) a vastly under-strength bunch of Northern Sheep Rooters by 54-16. To add to the carnage, The Chief Taffy (Alun Wyn Jones) went off with a shoulder injury in the first 20-odd minutes. I doubt that Wales will want to rush him back like they managed to with the BIL tour, so I daresay if there’s any long-term risk, he won’t play again this calendar year. The Welsh, otherwise, got exactly what they were asking for: a full crowd at Cardiff Arms and an estimated 4 million quid for the honour of being bummed live and exclusive. Would their English players have made any difference? Probably not… but might have given them a bit more of a chance!
Scotland v Tonga… again, not unexpected that the Jocks won 60-14. Good on them for putting Tonga to the sword. The chief tryscore, Kyle Steyn, who hails from the south Scottish town of Johannesburg (another fucking import… though I digress by learning his connection to Scotland is through his mother so fair enough) who scored four tries alone. Great Scot! The Jocks will be primed for their match next weekend against the Wallabies.
Preview: Autumn Internationals Week Two
Some big matches coming to us on Stan Sports this weekend ahead (my tips in the brackets):
- Wales v South Africa (SA)
- England v Tonga (Eng)
- Ireland v Japan (Ire)
- France v Argentina (Fra)
- Italy v NZ (NZ)
- Spain v Fiji (Fiji) ((seriously, this is the best that Fiji could get? What bollocks. Good for Spain though))
- Romania v Uruguay (Uru)
- Portugal v Canada (Can)
- Scotland v Australia (Aus if dry, Scot if wet)
- France v South Africa
- Wales v Japan
- England v New Zealand
I haven’t tipped the Women’s as I simply have no idea. Good luck, ladies! :)
For the most part, the results should be relatively straightforward. The weather could be a deciding factor in at least two of the games (Aus v Scot, Wal v SA). Ireland will be looking to exact their revenge against the Japanese after their 2019 loss and Argentina have a point to prove, albeit against possibly the best side in Europe at present so will probably struggle. Then again… French rugby is known for spectacular events on the rugger field so an implosion cannot be ruled out. It will be very interesting to see the side rolled out by Eddie Jones for the match against Tonga. All being said and done: RUGBYYYYY!
Scott Johnson on the Chopping Block
Christy Doran (where’s my pinch of salt…?) has written an exclusive on Fox Rugby that Rugby Australia has (FUCKING FINALLY) realised they are ‘top heavy’ at the administration level. It has recently been reported that RA are looking into the centralisation of staff and players. This means that certain senior administration members whose jobs will be redundant in a centralised model will be searching elsewhere. This spells dire news, at present, for Scott Johnson who will find that, now Dave Rennie has settled and has a capable support staff around him, could well be surplus to requirements.
“Currently, RA has a number of people employed across high performance roles, including Johnson, Adrian Thompson (national head of talent management), Ben Whitaker (high performance, professional services), Scott Bowen (sevens), Jilly Collins (women’s rugby), Nick Taylor (contracting manager) and Chris Webb (Wallabies manager).”
Each of these chumps must be on a decent wicket financially, so merging even two of these jobs could provide a substantial saving to HQ. Then again, in a organisation where “jobs for the boys” is more endemic than the Liberal Party MPs on their retirement, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s only a mere shuffle with HQ simply presenting slashed numbers with the above names having fancy new titles. Call me a cynic…… ;)
Finally… still awaiting the outcome of Rassie’s hearing which, from my understanding, was this weekend….
Rightio, folks. That’s all he wrote on this find Sunday evening. Here’s hoping for a Sir Lucan win on the weekend! Oh… that’s barrier 18… Fuck.