“What should I do, God? Should I continue acting the mickey and threatening to go to league every year? If you don’t answer, I’ll take that as a yes.”
Deans has more tangible problems than a sceptical rugby public and a greedy union: he’s got a serious rash of injuries to contend with, and some of his marquee players are not just out of form on the pitch, they’re out of sorts off it. With a shallow playing pool like Australia, that’s a big deal. And it’s not as if the coach is blameless either: some of his selections – and some of his omissions – have hurt the Wallabies’ short-term prospects with little long-term pay-off. Continue reading →
Berrick Barnes [Waratahs], David Pocock [Force], James Horwill [Reds], James O’Connor [Rebels] and Stephen Moore [Brumbies] – a photo like this gives the impression that Australian rugby talent is distributed equally across all five franchises … it isn’t. If they showed five players from each team, you wouldn’t recognise six of the lads wearing Force or Rebels jerseys.
Before we get into the personnel, injury, tactical and discipline problems that have beset the Wallabies in recent times, it’s important to cast a cursory eye over the structure that supports the international team.
The Mole is of the strong opinion that the ARU have eyes bigger than their bellies when it comes to ‘growing the game’. They’ve expanded for the sake of expanding, not for the sake of winning more trophies.
Robbie Deans, the former New Zealand international and current head coach of the Wallabies. It’s all his fault, apparently … except it isn’t.
When Robbie ‘Dingo’ Deans announced that he’d crossed the Tasman to take over from John Connolly as head coach of the Wallabies back in December 2007, it was pretty enormous news in New Zealand. Continue reading →
The Leinster second-string backline head out to training. They’re very keen on playing on tightly-mown surfaces, both so that their flashy skills and quick feet are in evidence and so that they can actually see each other. It’d be like patrolling in Vietnam if they had to play in a meadow. Because they’re all midgets, y’see?
There’s nothing inherently noble or right about having a small backline, rather than one composed of enormous, planet-boshing mutants. When old-timers quote the gospel that rugby is a sport for all shapes and sizes, they conveniently forget that a good big ‘un will always beat a good little ‘un. Continue reading →
The Mole is a fan of Mad Men, AMC’s breakthrough show that chronicles the goings on at a Madison Avenue advertising agency during the golden age of American capitalism. The main protagonist is Don Draper. Women want him and men want to be him. While the show revolves around Draper’s character, the Mole’s favourite is Roger Sterling; insouciant, charming, funny and often drunk. How can you not like the guy?!
The Chiefs celebrate their semi-final win over the Crusaders. They were beaten finalists in 2009, and will be looking to win their first ever Super Rugby title in front of their home fans in Waikato Stadium against the Sharks tomorrow.
One of the pleasures of a Saturday morning this year has been to get up early, brew some coffee and watch the Chiefs play in the Super 15. Continue reading →
Roger Wilson bursts through a gap for Northampton. The two-time Ulster Player of the Year has returned to his home province, having spent four busy years with the Saints. It will be interesting to see if his performances in the white No8 jersey can push him forward for international contention, or if there’s too much track worn off the tires.
Roger Wilson: since making his debut for Ulster as a 21-year old in September 2002, the Belfast-born No8 has played an enormous amount of professional rugby. In five seasons with Ulster he played 116 games [101 starts] and since moving to Northampton at the end of the 2007-08 season he hasn’t let up, playing 117 games [108 starts] for the Saints. In total, he has played 46 Heineken Cup games, all but one of them from kick-off.
How many tests for Ireland has he played? One. Against Japan. Seven years ago. Continue reading →