Tuesday’s Rugby News looks at Brad Thorn’s problem with the Tahs, that Brumbies scrum hiccup, the best code hoppers, and a hard road for the Rebels.
Brad’s not happy!
So, we all know I’m a mad reds fan but, when Brad Thorn mentioned the Waratahs kickers dramatically falling over to win penalties I didn’t agree.
I will agree that they didn’t get hit very hard and the hits were either slightly late or ‘too’ late depending on your point of view but most 85kg backs are going to end up on their arse when a very quick 130kg ball of muscle runs into them. Even when it’s a glancing blow.
But Brad doesn’t agree.
“Rugby’s a tough game. I’m not a huge fan of that sort of stuff,” Thorn said.
“I think players that go down for that and they’re seriously injured … HIA, that’s my opinion, because, clearly they were fine.
“On my side as well, I don’t want my players going down with a dramatic fall.
“Take what’s there, get up, get on with the game.”
Reds skipper Liam Wright was a little less forgiving of Nella.
“We probably wanted to slap ‘Nella’ around a bit, but it’s one of those things and you’ve just got to move on,” Wright said.
“We were just talking on the field (about) … last 10 minutes of a brutal game, guys were tired, busted, but what a story if we hold off with 14 men and we come back and get the Cup, and our boys were bloody awesome.”
Would I have carded Nella for the late hits? Nah, I didn’t think they were that late or dangerous. But I also didn’t have a problem with Nic Berry’s decision either. What do you think?
Brumbies Scrum Talk
There is nothing quite as pissed off in rugby as a tighthead prop whos scrum hasn’t quite done what its supposed to have done. Brumbies captain Allan Alaalatoa is that tighthead this week. But it would be a brave punter who would suggest that he would let the Brumbies pack misfire two games in a row.
The Brumbies got pinged six times in the match with four of those penalties clocked up in the first 20 minutes. The Brumbies have a bye week to sort this out and it’s hard to see such a professional outfit or Allan Alaalatoa not fixing this.
“I think it was a combination of a lot of things. It’s definitely something for us we need to look at going forward, but we managed to get there towards the end.
“It was a combination, the first two were pre-engaged, and the first couple in the second half, we lost our footing there. There was one where we pushed them over the ball and we got pinged for that as well.
Brumbies coach Dan McKellar says conceding a try from a maul for the second time also was “not good enough” but was rapt with his side’s maul attack.
Fans in the Canberra Stadium stands were few and far between with a cap of 1500 in place as the ACT government slowly eases restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I hope so, just for our families, our supporters, sponsors, just to be able to get here and enjoy the rugby again live. That’d be nice,” McKellar said.
Was Brad Thorn The Best Code Hopper?
I know, I know. Two Brad Thorn articles in one daily news. It’s too much and it’s my fault. But I don’t care.
So let’s get right down to it.
Is Brad Thorn the best code hopper ever?
Short answer: Yes
Long answer: YYYEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSS!
No other player has succeeded in the engine room of two sports. The skill sets of a League prop and a Union lock are not interchangeable. It’s a feat no other player has achieved or is likely to achieve. Thorn is a legend.
Thorn wouldn’t give two hoots for British critic Stephen Jones’ quip he was a “willing donkey forward’’ who he would “draw the curtains” on “if he was playing in my back garden’’. That’s not what he was about.
He’s not Anthony Kiedis! He’s Flea and Chad Smith rolled into one.
And that’s why he was no1 in Stuart Barnes’ list of code hoppers in the Sunday Times but didn’t make the antipodean hating Jones’ list.
Barnes claimed no player had followed William Shakespeare’s “men must endure’’ line “quite as literally’’ as Thorn.
“Now coaching the Queensland Reds, the former Kangaroo and All Black international has done it all in a 22-year career that has seen him become the only man to win the World Cup, Super Rugby and Heineken Cup in union while throwing in a sequence of State of Origin efforts for Queensland in league.
“Trans-Tasman, Cross Code, there will be a flashier but never a more enduring career in both forms of rugby.’’
The Melbourne Rebels Long road Trip
The Melbourne rebels have the toughest gig in the sport right now. Unexpectedly force to stay on tour and not return home to their homes and families.
Yes, there are a lot of people doing a damned lot worse than a bunch of sportsmen. That was never in doubt. But I’m not here to talk about that.
The Rebels look set to shift their home game against the Queensland Reds to Brookvale Oval on Friday night, with the squad likely to stay in Canberra, where they were based for a week leading into round one, until Wednesday.
Victoria is experiencing a major spike in COVID-19 cases which has forced Victorian-based sporting clubs across Super Rugby, AFL and NRL out of their home state.
“The challenge is for those guys who have kids, that’s fine for probably two, three or four weeks, but if it’s going to be up to the end of the comp, we need to find a way to get guys connected to their kids.
“I was pretty proud of the guys actually, we’ve been through a bit over the past 14 days and we didn’t get to train a lot last week because we were prevented from training and had to travel and get ourselves sorted.”
There is a fear life on the road could grow difficult, as it has for the New Zealand Warriors in the NRL after they were forced to move to Australia to keep the competition alive.
“We’ve just enjoyed each other’s company, it’s not an easy thing to do. It’s also an opportunity for us to spend a bit of time together, so we’ve enjoyed that,” Haylett-Petty said.
“Everything is up in the air at the moment, it’s been easy to just focus on the game throughout the week and we haven’t looked too far ahead. Now we’ve got a six-day turnaround … we’ve got to get onto the next job.”