British & Irish Lions

New Rugby columnist debuts on G&GR!

New Rugby columnist debuts on G&GR!

G&GR is proud to bring you the Aussie Stevie view of the player’s performance over the TriNations. Thanks to magic Stevie powers, we can do this in advance, actual viewing not required.

A quick intro for those who have not yet had the privilege of reading the insights of Aussie Stevie’s dad, Stephen Jones. He is a Welsh git based in his upper colon who writes about rugby. He is famous for things like hating the Southern Hemisphere and hating the ELVs and being a complete twat. Also for not picking Brian O’Driscoll in his preferred Lions team. Most famously (for us Ozzies), he once described Al Baxter as:

a comment on the desperate lack in Australia of props with an ounce of credibility on the world stage, because if rugby had the same procedure as boxing in saving the battered from further punishment, then Baxter would hardly have finished a match.

This was dated Nov 9, 2008. Of course, Stephen Jones’ favourite memento is the following dated Nov 15, 2008:

So in short we in Oz luuurrrrvve Stevie. So much so that I was reading his latest set of Lions’ player ratings, and I realised that what we need is an Aussie Stevie. And then I found him, Stephen Jones’ own long-lost son! What a happy day for Australian Rugby, I thought: with our very own Stevie we could finally be a top-flight rugby nation. So imagine my delight when after a quick chat (at barge-poles’ length) he agreed to write up the player ratings for the 2009 TriNations, channeling his Dad’s own Greatest Rugby Pundit foresight and insight powers.

So here goes with Aussie Stevie’s 2009 TriNations player Ratings:

AAC – 8 ran counterattacking lines brilliantly, appears to have abandoned early insistence on kicking all the time, a rock in defence.
Turner – 9 took his chances, always a threat.
Mortlock – 10 like old wine, more powerful and skillful every year.
Barnes – 8 the future is bright for such a player, great vision, distribution and kicking.
Mitchell – 7 excellent all-rounder, a shade slower than Turner but in fact only desperately unlucky when he appeared to be embarrassed by JDV.
Giteau – 11 the bestest since Wilkinson, showed up Carter for the lightweight he is.
Genia – 7 improving rapidly, a real threat around the edges and a strong half-back.
Palu – 9 Herculanean.
Smith – 10 good enough to teach Martyn Williams how to do it.
Elsom – 11 Benefited from his tour in the NH where the rugby is certainly much tougher and for real men only, world’s best 6 without a doubt.
Mumm – 7 displaced the lazy Horwill, and deservedly, all-round solidity.
Sharpe– 9 Hard to believe he was once so maligned, stood up everywhere except in the penalty count and too much for anyone but Matfield with whom he battled royally.
Benn Robinson – 8 ‘Fat Cat’ ran like he scrummed, unstoppably.
Moore – 10 Forced South Africa to abandon Ralapele, then matched du Plessis, ran riot against Mealamu.
Baxter – 9 Bossed the buggers around, didn’t matter which ones. Here’s hoping he gets his rematch against Sheridan in the autumn tour.

The bench – 8 never let the team down, Alexander, Waugh and JOC particularly reliable stand-ins.

NZ ratings: – average 5.5, rather poor really, need to get better if they are to live up to their hype. Not sure why McAlister plays at five-eighth, though Ali Williams and Muliania were impressive they couldn’t do enough.

RSA ratings: – average 6 looked clearly out-classed in the Lions tour and worse this time around. Matfield and du Plessis stood out though.

Yes, Australia look very well positioned indeed to improve on this year’s last place. I’ve been saying it for a while now and I’m glad that is become clear to everyone else: this Australian team has a bright future…

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