Rag Trading

Mike Cheik 1-2, 1-2

Mike Cheik 1-2, 1-2

Writing the Age of Aquarius made me review my take on Michael Cheika’s time in charge of Leinster and to revalue the impact he had on the province. Perhaps because his Heineken Cup triumph was linked in my mind to Brian O’Driscoll and Rocky Elsom both having great seasons, I missed a lot that was hidden in plain sight. Continue reading

Ruck Marks

Ruck Marks

About four or five months ago, The Mole became interested in finding a way to analyse and attribute value to the work done by each player at ruck and breakdown. Continue reading

Attempted Burglary Thwarted

Leigh Halfpenny had a very, very long kick at the end of the game to snatch the match for the Lions. If he'd managed to get it, the Lions would have got away with robbery.

Leigh Halfpenny had a very, very long kick at the end of the game to snatch the match for the Lions. If he’d managed to get it, the Lions would have got away with robbery.

The Lions had a last minute kick to win the second test that, had it gone over, would have stolen the match from an Australian team that played all the rugby.   Continue reading

Errors And Omissions Dwelt On

"And that's my gameplan, gentlemen." Who's going to tell him? "Shit gameplan, cap'n." Good man, Prop Number One!

“And that’s my gameplan, gentlemen.” Hmmm.

Neither coach covered himself in glory at the weekend. While Ben Mowen’s shutdown of Mike Phillips was a highly successful tactic, that has to be balanced with Deans’ selection of James O’Connor as outhalf and placekicker.  Continue reading

What’s Wrong With The Wallabies? Pt.3

“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

What’s Wrong With The Wallabies? Pt.2

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.

Continue reading

What’s Wrong With The Wallabies? Pt.1

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