To Play or Not to Play – Opinion
I was struck by this piece by Michael Atkinson Here regarding the Australian players lack of match fitness during the South African game.
I have always had the opinion that the only way to become proficient at anything it to train and then implement the skill. INHO one of the biggest issues with Australian Rugby over the past 20 years has been the lack of rugby that the players play during the developmental years. Many of our best players do not actually play that much meaningful rugby in the important years between 14 and 18.
Many Schoolboy stars get to Colts 1 level and cannot sustain a. Full club season as they are just not used to playing that many games week in and week out.
Let’s look at a high level schoolboy player if they are on a scholarship they will generally be excluded from playing club rugby as the School has a significant investment in the young man. That means they play usually about 7 meaningful games of rugby each year barring injury plus warm up games or perhaps a tour which doesn’t really matter. So if they play 2 years of first XV they have played a total of perhaps 14 meaningful games before moving on to either an academy or club rugby. Kids who play Club as well as school will generally play 14 or so club games and the School season over the course of their junior career it will equate to an extra 28 meaningful games. I would suggest that these players generally play smarter rugby even if they are not the better athletes so we need to maximise the limited playing pool available by getting them to play more meaningful games of rugby.
The full time starters in Super play enough Rugby but it is the squad players the level down who do not play enough. As a result, they lack Rugby IQ and generally don’t have the chance to improve the game play that guys who play a lot of meaningful games have. I have generally found that good Schoolboy stars find it much tougher to transition as when they can no longer dominate the other team physically they do not have the tools to figure out another way, Does this sound familiar to anyones thoughts in the last week?
Australian A play Tonga This week
Australian A Side From Pravda Here
This game celebrates the anniversary of the game where the Tongans beat Australia at Ballymore in 1973 16 to 11. It featured Fatai Kefu who later immigrated to Australia perhaps you have heard of his sons.
This will be worth the watch as the Tongan team ( Ikale Tahi ) looks menacing and with many cultural activities on in Nuku’alofa at the moment. Church, Rugby, Family the three things that Tongans live for.
Michael Hooper to Miss the Argentina Test
Report are immerging that Michael Hooper will miss the upcoming test against the FISM. I for one would have wished him the chance to say goodbye to his home fans in style but sometimes life is not fair.
A downcast Hooper was one of the last of the Wallabies to arrive at training and met Nic White on the edge of the group, where the pair gave each other a big hug and spoke privately.
It’s understood Hooper suffered a minor calf injury at training on Tuesday afternoon.
Saturday’s Test was set to be the 31-year-old’s swansong in Sydney, with Hooper farewelling the Waratahs recently.
One can only hope Fraser McReight gets the opportunity as he is a very good rugby player and the form7 in Australian Rugby.
Les Kiss To Take On The Queensland Job
From the SMH Here
The Reds have settled on Brad Thorn’s replacement, and it’s another former Queensland Maroons representative set to take the top job at Ballymore.
Les Kiss is understood to have agreed to terms with Queensland Rugby and expected to be unveiled by the end of the month.
It’s believed Kiss is unlikely to come in and make sweeping changes to personnel and practice, although many believe a real shake up is required.
The 58-year-old former Maroons state of origin winger is highly regarded both here and abroad and is the first really experienced head coach the Reds have appointed since Ewen McKenzie in 2010.
His LinkedIn profile Here Shows his extensive 20-year coaching career including Head Coach London Irish and DOR at Ulster. This is the type of IP Australian Rugby needs.
Personally I hope he has been given the keys to the castle as the QRU needs a night of the long knives in the backroom.
in the words of NFL coach Mike Tomlin “the game is football the business is winning”.