Wednesday’s Rugby News looks at a Frenchman backing France, appeals for calm after Trans-Tasman week 1, England losing its assistant coaches, and Nick Frost re-signing with the Brumbies
Michalak talks-up French squad and O’Connor, is half-right
GAGR’s own Nathan Williamson reports that Frédéric Michalak backs the French to be more effective than the Maginot Line in the upcoming three-test series against the Wallabies.
“I think the French squad are very good at the moment. It’s a young squad but as we can see, the last few years they have done very well in the Six Nations and start to beat great teams in England and Ireland.”
France finished second in this year’s Six Nations, although availability of players for the Australian tour may be an issue.
“The French team will be very happy to be here in Australia and play with a crowd because there’s no actual crowd in France so it’s going to be very exciting.”
Sydney-based Michalak has been coaching the Sydney Roosters (of course) in 2021 and rates James O’Connor.
“I’m happy to see James O’Connor playing this type of Rugby. I played with him in Toulon and I’m happy to see him playing well for the Reds.”
Reports of death of Super AU sides greatly exaggerated
Australian Rugby is not dead, just resting according to Rugby Australia chief Andy Marinos (pictured, centre).
“Look, it wasn’t an ideal start, but we weren’t too far away from getting one or two wins, and it probably would have been a very different conversation we’d be having this morning,” Marinos told AAP on Monday.
“There’s a slight gulf, but I think the biggest thing is to have squad depth.”
While the media pondered the idea of a “slight gulf”, Marinos went on to say that it was inevitable after losing a generation of stars to overseas clubs that Australia’s new-era talents would take time to hit their straps.
“We’ve got to give these guys an opportunity to do their apprenticeship and get one or two seasons under their belt and I think then the game will be really well served.”
Round Two (all times AEST)
Hurricanes v Rebels, Fri, Wellington, 5:05pm
Force v Highlanders, Friday Perth, 7:45pm
Blues v Waratahs, Saturday, Auckland, 2:35pm
Chiefs v Brumbies, Sat, Hamilton, 5:05pm
Reds v Crusaders, Saturday, Brisbane, 7:45pm
Eddie Jones’ assistant coaches moved on
England attack coach Simon Amor has moved on and skills coach Jason Ryles has been left stranded in Australia in a reshuffle of Eddie Jones’ coaching brains trust after England’s fifth-place Six Nations result.
Amor coached the England men’s sevens team before he was appointed as Jones’ assistant coach in early 2020. Ryles, an ex NRL player, Melbourne Storm assistant coach and periodic England assistant coach, was appointed to the England gig full-time in October 2020, but was thwarted by COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The Guardian also notes the high turnover of assistant coaches under Eddie Jones, with Paul Gustard, Steve Borthwick, Neal Hatley, Sam Vesty, Glen Ella, Rory Teague, Scott Wisemantel and now Amor and Ryles on the list of exes.
At time of print Black Sabbath still has more ex band members.
If precedent is anything to go by, England should have a World Cup quarter-final exit left in them after this.
More Frost for Canberra
21-year-old lock & back-rower Nick Frost has re-signed with the Brumbies until at least the end of 2022.
The 115kg, 206cm big unit from Knox Grammar School scored a 60-metre try for the Junior Wallabies at the 2019 Under 20 World Cup and played his first Brumbies game against the Rebels in round two 2020.
Brumbies Coach Dan McKellar said: “We’re thrilled Nick will be staying at the club next season.”
“Since he joined the club he has taken on all feedback, worked hard in the gym and on the field to make sure he’s ready for Super Rugby and he’s gotten better and better as a result of that professional attitude.
“Frosty was a high-priority retention for the club and while he’s an important part of the side already we feel he can be one of the pillars of our pack for years to come.”
“Nick was also piss-funny in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz” McKellar didn’t say.
[Chiefs v Brumbies, Saturday 22 May, FMG Stadium, Hamilton, 5:05pm AEST]