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Thread: Exclusive: Key Wallabies to be rested during 2019 Super Rugby seasonl

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    Exclusive: Key Wallabies to be rested during 2019 Super Rugby seasonl

    November 14, 2018 3:00am
    Christy Doran



    EXCLUSIVE: Rugby Australia will follow the lead of New Zealand next year, with key Wallabies to be rested throughout Super Rugby to keep them fresh for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

    In a turning point for a fractured Australian rugby landscape, foxsports.com.au can reveal that a handshake agreement has been struck between RA and its four Super Rugby franchises.

    The agreement in principle was reached during last month’s national high performance summit in Sydney, with the nuts and bolts still being finalised.

    After three years of dire Super Rugby results, which included a 40-game, 722 day drought against New Zealand opposition, the decision to rest some of Australia’s best players will likely raise eyebrows.

    But in a World Cup year, it’s hoped that by giving the nation’s top players an extra week or two’s rest throughout the regular season, the Wallabies will be in the best possible position to go deep into the tournament.

    “What we’ve committed to is developing individual — almost like periodised plans — for our top players,” RA’s high performance manager Ben Whitaker said.

    “That will be a process formed between national team staff and the respective Super staff of the player, and that will be the full gamut of things around programming, load management, training and playing etc.

    “I don’t know if it will be exactly the same or copying New Zealand, but we will certainly be managing the individual players together and that will incorporate periods of rest, but it won’t be totally dictated by the Wallabies or Australia, Super Rugby will be involved in our planning.”

    The historic agreement means there will be no repeat of the awkward standoff that occurred between the Brumbies and Wallabies earlier this year.

    In the lead-up to the Wallabies’ three Test series against Ireland in June, Michael Cheika asked Brumbies coach Dan McKellar to rest David Pocock, Scott Sio and Allan Alaalatoa on the eve of their must win clash against the Sunwolves in Canberra.

    But, facing the prospect of missing the finals for the first time since 2012, and with the Brumbies battling poor crowds, McKellar rejected Cheika’s plea.

    The difficult situation put the spotlight on the importance of better communication between the Test team and Super Rugby.

    Whitaker said that good had come from it.

    “Every time you’re involved a situation like that, things like communication, your strategy, your plans, your systems all come under scrutiny and often that’s the best thing that can happen because you learn from that and you know what needs to be done so it’s far more effective,” Whitaker said.

    “And whilst that was an interesting, testing time for a lot of different reasons, I think everyone goes ‘getting through that we’ve got a better understanding of how we can approach that situation in the future.’

    “And again, it’s probably a glass half full view of that, no one in our environment is shy of having a robust discussion and they need to be a part of what we’re doing.

    “I’ve been around for a while now, I think in the past if you don’t get the result you wanted you lose and therefore you don’t rate what happened or the outcome.

    “Whereas I think we’re a bit more mature in the plan that we’re running (now) and we can see that you need to look at it to support, in this case, national and Super endeavours.”

    The world’s top two ranked nations, New Zealand and Ireland, both run centralised programs geared towards the best outcomes for their Test teams and top players.

    That means careful monitoring and resting of their best players throughout their respective domestic seasons.

    In 2018, All Blacks were forced to miss two Super Rugby matches on top of the two bye rounds.

    Gun Irish playmaker Johnny Sexton, meanwhile, played just 19 of Leinster’s 32 matches in 2017-18.

    While it’s unlikely that a mandatory policy will be implemented by RA, players who have had a high workload over the last three years will likely be given short periods to rest.

    In Super Rugby this season, the Waratahs’ Wallabies playmakers Bernard Foley (1418 minutes) and Kurtley Beale (1353) were among the top 10 in the entire competition for minutes played.

    Test stars Israel Folau and Michael Hooper topped the charts in 2017 for minutes played in the regular season.

    “There are obvious players that have played a lot of rugby over the last three years and there are some that have played less,” Whitaker said.

    “But there will be individual plans developed.”

    The benefit is two fold.

    “It’s about giving the Wallabies the best preparation and performance plans,” Whitaker said.

    “And the second part is to be really considerate and understanding of how that can still mean that Super Rugby teams can perform.

    “I think that’s possible and I think everyone believes in that as well.

    “And that then leads to developing depth because we do have talent in this country and I think we’re all starting to realise that we need to back the talent, coach the talent to perform and give the opportunity to manage our best players.”

    McKellar supported the player management plans.

    “There’s been discussions already with the Super Rugby head coaches,” McKellar told foxsports.com.au.

    “We sat down with Michael (Cheika) a couple of weeks ago at the high performances forum, all four coaches with Michael and Ben Whitaker, and it’s good that we’re having those conversations now and we’re planning in advance in November and avoiding the situation we had this year with the game going into the Sunwolves week — that wasn’t pleasant for anyone.

    “I think in a World Cup it makes sense that our players that are playing big minutes in Super Rugby, big minutes at Test level, that we’re going to need to manage them well so that they’re in a position to perform well for their Super Rugby teams and importantly perform well for the Wallabies in Japan because that’s what we all want.

    “Michael wants the Super Rugby teams performing well and winning and playing in finals and grand finals, as we all want to do, and equally we want to make sure that the Wallabies are given the best chance to put their best foot forward next year in the World Cup.

    “We’re having those conversations and discussions now and I think there’s certainly some alignment there and some decisions will be made shortly.”

    The open discussions are a huge step forward for Australian rugby.

    World Cup-winning Wallaby Daniel Herbert, who has also served as the Reds general manager, previously told foxsports.com.au that Super Rugby coaches and boards were reluctant to contemplate such measures because they feared their own job security.

    “I think the only thing that’s going to drive them (kids) across the country is the national team performing — so therefore
    what do we need to do to make the national team successful?” Herbert said.

    “The problem is you can’t do that because you’ve got self interest and self preservation at all levels because they’re not protected.

    “So when Michael Cheika comes along and says ‘I need you to rest that player for the first eight weeks because I really need to win the World Cup next year’ — the states don’t have to do that.”

    But McKellar said he had the trust from the Brumbies top brass to go along with RA’s plan.

    “We want the Brumbies doing well, specifically myself, (chief executive) Phil Thomson, the board, our stakeholders, our squad, our coaches, we want to be performing well in 2019,” McKellar said.

    “But there’s a bigger picture as well and we’re certainly open to guys like your Pococks, your Sios, who have played big minutes, to looking at the possibility of managing their load.

    “The important thing is making sure we’re having those conversations and discussions early so that we can play well in advance.”

    Whitaker added that communication was the key for RA’s plan to work.

    “It doesn’t matter what system you’re running or you’re engaged in, if communication and relationships aren’t at the forefront of that, it’s probably likely to have not worked or been as effective,” Whitaker said.

    “I think over the last 12 months that’s really been improved, so people having the insight or the information that they need to consider or make decisions on all this is far better than what it was.

    “From individual coaches point of view, having their CEO’s and boards aware of what’s being discussed and going on, I would have thought was just their ability to manage.

    “I get a sense right now in talking to them that that’s happening.”

    While RA had always intended to reach this point by 2019, Whitaker said the governing body hoped that the principles agreed upon — assuming next year is a success — can continue beyond the World Cup.

    “It’s almost like an evolution of where we’ve been the last 12, 18 months.

    “It’s not all new.

    “We worked pretty closely last year to manage the loads of our top players and work on one plan.

    “That came out of the annual forum the year before, so this is probably an evolution on that to just up the detail around aspects of our plan with an obvious end point for ’19, being the World Cup.

    “Then absolutely, the principles of what we’re doing, we’re keen to see as part of the system going forward.”

    https://www.foxsports.com.au/rugby/w...-2PaJZL9PX92SE

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    Great news, now those players getting paid the most for the longest will have to play the least, top job RA.

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    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    The plan to get the Rebels into the finals is really getting a bit desperate now!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alison View Post
    The plan to get the Rebels into the finals is really getting a bit desperate now!!
    No discussion mentioned with the Force coach by Whitaker and Cheika?

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    The positive. Young players getting opportunity in those positions ....playing so well that they can’t be ignored and Quade Cooper type situations developing and hopefully a new brand of future Wallaby.

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    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSJ View Post
    No discussion mentioned with the Force coach by Whitaker and Cheika?
    The Force is no longer in Super Rugby and currently has no Wallabies so it’s unlikely to even be on their radar.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alison View Post
    The Force is no longer in Super Rugby and currently has no Wallabies so it’s unlikely to even be on their radar.
    No, they honestly believe the Force won't be playing rugby next year and therefore don't need to be rested. All the good ones will be shared between the extended squads of Melbourne and NSW with the rest told to build scaffolding

    I liked this point

    In Super Rugby this season, the Waratahs’ Wallabies playmakers Bernard Foley (1418 minutes) and Kurtley Beale (1353) were among the top 10 in the entire competition for minutes played.

    Test stars Israel Folau and Michael Hooper topped the charts in 2017 for minutes played in the regular season.

    the four players mentioned as having a heavy workload are the four players who look most like their rest breaks are on the field.

    Surely, if they want these four well rested, they should give them more playing time, not less!

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    C'mon the

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    That would have to be the longest word count rugby article for the least actual content I have ever seen

    This is farcical. The reason NZ can rest All Blacks is because the second and third off the cab guys are better than the opposisition guys anyway....Matt Todd anyone? And when they did it, EVERYONE bitched and moaned - supporters, coaches, the opposition, TV producers.

    Ireland believe they can now do it becuase they have develooped into the SECOND ranked team, with some depth as well. Nobody else has done it because of a lack of depth, financial issues with clubs and broadcasters, and losing supporter base.

    The Wally Bs are NOT the top or second team with depth, they are ranked SEVENTH and have zero depth. They have played those plonkers so many minutes because there is nobody to replace them with, and they are desperate to get results. No results, no sponsors, no supporters, less TV deal in 2020, bankrupt.

    That said, I believe there IS depth, just not in the thinking/minds of those currently in charge at coaching and administrative levels. Guys like Alcock/McMahon/Gill could quite easily have filled in to give Hoooper a break. Banks/Kellaway at fullback. Gordon/Powell/Ruru/Lowrens/Prior could ALL have been given time to rest Sanches - that donkey Phipps has SEVENTY test matches FFS. The list of alternatives goes on for every position, some would work, others not, but we will never know because it hasnt happened.

    The problem with list management is that there has been NO MANAGEMENT. The same failed players have been ussed exhaustively by the failed management without a thought for fatigue or building depth, and apparently with the expectation that they will magically show something new that has not been apparent for 50 tests.

    BTW what are we going to do at 10 if Nard gets one more knock on the scone? 9 If Sanchez breaks his arm? 14 if Izzy does his ankle? At least we have Pocock to step into 7 if Hooper does his hammy, but there is nobody to step into 8!

    The whole set up is a shit show, and resting five guys on a $million per year is not the answer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sittingbison View Post
    At least we have Pocock to step into 7 if Hooper does his hammy, but there is nobody to step into 8!
    Not in the next couple of weeks. He's still waiting for qualification. Another one unearthed in Perth and ending up in Melbourne.

    Isn't it great to know that Rat's Arse are so flushed with funds that they can take along a tackle-bag-holder-upper on the NH tour. Just to lighten the load on the players who can actually take the field.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alison View Post
    The Force is no longer in Super Rugby and currently has no Wallabies so it’s unlikely to even be on their radar.
    Thats what I was suggesting by asking that Dorothy Dix question.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shasta View Post
    Not in the next couple of weeks. He's still waiting for qualification. Another one unearthed in Perth and ending up in Melbourne.

    Isn't it great to know that Rat's Arse are so flushed with funds that they can take along a tackle-bag-holder-upper on the NH tour. Just to lighten the load on the players who can actually take the field.
    Yeah, but the replacement guys have zilch experience. Naisarani, Gordon, Banks, Petaia (sic), Stewart not a single game! Maddocks, Powell, Timing one game!! It's a disaster, an outrageous display of ineptitude

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    This is just hilarious, I'm laughingmy head off reading this .... how on earth are they going to identify key players .... it can only be by bin-loads of dollars wasted on contracts .... next up we'll hear that RA have approached the French or JRFU about resting AAC !

    Folover gets his rest on the wing, as does Hooper !

    If they're gonna do anything they need a new No. 2 SH - Phipps is shocking... critical is keeping Reece Hodge fit.
    Stats required on Beale's performance on metres run ... % forward and % sideways !

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    Veteran Sheikh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alison View Post
    The plan to get the Rebels into the finals is really getting a bit desperate now!!
    But with so many Wallabies now in melbourne, they'll be hit as hard as the Waratahs with this resting of players. The Brumbies' and Reds' odds of winning the conference must have just gone up.

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    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheikh View Post
    But with so many Wallabies now in melbourne, they'll be hit as hard as the Waratahs with this resting of players. The Brumbies' and Reds' odds of winning the conference must have just gone up.
    Yeah but they’re not all being rested; only the key ones, and they mostly all play for the Waratahs.....

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