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Thread: Spiro - The RA couldn't run a bath

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    Spiro - The RA couldn't run a bath

    Gold from Spiro one of his best articles

    By dumping Larkham, the Wallabies have been Cheika-mated

    Spiro Zavos
    Expert

    Following numerous stupid decisions by Rugby Australia over the last couple of years, an officious bystander is virtually forced to believe that the organisation cannot run a bath.
    Now we have the matter of Stephen Larkham being dropped from the Wallabies coaching staff.

    What the rugby public and media is being told about the Larkham matter defies a rational understanding.

    He has been dropped from the Wallabies responsibilities, right. But, “his expertise” (CEO Raelene Castle’s words) will enable him to link up the Sevens teams, the under-20 state academies and a program intended to integrate Sevens and XVs programs.

    Wait, though, there is more!

    Castle has promised that Larkham will be considered for head coach of the Wallabies after Rugby World Cup 2019.

    Let us throw some facts into this discussion.

    Here is Wayne Smith in The Australian: “Since 2016, Australia has played 42 Tests for only 17 wins. The Wallabies have lost 11 of their last 15 internationals and Cheika’s winning record has slumped to 48.3 per cent, the lowest of any coach in the professional era.”

    These statistics do not include the years from October 2014 and the whole of 2015, a Rugby World Cup year when the Wallabies reached the final for the fourth time. When these years are included Cheika’s record stands at 28 wins, 28 losses and two draws.

    There is a strong argument to be made that these statistics indicate that the Wallabies were successful when Cheika’s team was essentially the side that he inherited from Ewen McKenzie.

    By the time McKenzie’s relatively successful Wallabies had become Cheika’s Wallabies last year, a year out from the Rugby World Cup tournament in Japan, the side had degenerated to such an extent that 2018 was one of the worst in the history of the national side.

    This is the point that should have been understood by Rugby Australia. The Wallabies have got worse in every indicator under Cheika’s regime. And the longer he has been in charge, the worse the results in terms of winning and losing have become.

    So faced with these facts, Rugby Australia has sacked the attack coach of the Wallabies. The defence coach, Nathan Grey, and the forwards coach Simon Raiwalui, have been kept on despite the fact that the Wallabies defensive record has been appalling and the forward play not on a par with its top tier opponents.

    Where is the logic here?

    According to a perceptive commentary by Bret Harris in The Guardian: “When Cheika replaced Ewen McKenzie as Wallabies coach at the end of 2014 the team’s style was modelled on the NSW Waratahs’ Super Rugby title-winning team. Looking for something extra, Cheika turned to Larkham, who brought with him the Brumbies’ playbook and a treasure trove of set-piece moves… Time and again the Wallabies’ attack broke down, more often than not behind the advantage line, after a series of complicated handling manoeuvres went wrong… During the course of last season you could hear Cheika talk more and more about the need to simplify the Wallabies’ attack.”

    So the poor performance of the Wallabies last year on attack, scoring on average 19.2 points a Test, according to coach Cheika, was due to Larkham’s input into the game plans of the Wallabies.

    What about the porous defence?

    What about the lack of power and authority in the forwards?

    What about Michael Cheika himself as head coach?

    Apparently, the buck stopped with Stephen Larkham.

    In the real world of international rugby coaching, or any other major sports, if a team is failing the way the Wallabies have been, the governing body sacks the head coach.

    The head coach has the responsibility and big salary that goes with this responsibility to produce the goods from his team. If the team, he fails.

    If Larkham had to go, then Cheika should have led the way for both of them out of the door.

    Rugby Australia has always been scared of Cheika ever since they grovelled to his demands when a replacement was sort when Ewen McKenzie resigned from the Wallabies a year out from Rugby World Cup 2015.

    I use the word “scared” in the sense that Cheika was seen at the time as the only possible saviour of the Wallabies and that because of this Rugby Australia believed his every demand for more and more control had to be satisfied.

    His unacceptable behaviour towards referees and in the coaches box was accepted.

    And now, Cheika’s terrible record as a Wallabies coach is glossed over by Raelene Castle accepting Cheika’s excuse that Larkham was the problem, not himself: “You don’t want everyone to agree all the time. You need challenges and differences of opinion. but ultimately they didn’t feel the core elements of the Wallabies were aligned and that’s why… Michael believed… it was the right thing for Stephen to move on.”

    Cheika-mate against Rugby Australia by the coach of the Wallabies.

    We needn’t feel sorry for Larkham, though. His sacking from the Wallabies has, bizarrely, given him the front running to succeed Cheika after the Rugby World Cup tournament in Japan.

    The best articulation of this theory comes from Neil Breen, an experienced print and television reporter, who now writes for The Sun-Herald thanks to Channel Nine’s takeover of Fairfax Media.

    On Sunday Breen wrote an article for The Sun-Herald titled: “Larkham will have the last laugh in the stoush with Cheika.”

    Breen pointed out that there was “affection for Larkham in the Rugby Australia hierarchy.” They allowed him to dump on Cheika, “We have difference in attacking strategies and over game philosophy… I am pleased to be able to continue coaching and contributing to Australia rugby.”

    Breen’s gloss on this revealing: “The Wallabies won’t be winning the 2019 World Cup, so Cheika won’t be coaching in 2020. That man will be Stephen Larkham, who’s been kept inside the tent, and when he’s in charge he can stop the chopping and changing of back line personnel that stagnated the attack.”

    I think that Breen is right on this conclusion.

    Rugby Australia is clearly setting up Larkham to be the next head coach of the Wallabies.

    But is Rugby Australia right to take this approach? I would argue that it is not. Larkham has taken the Brumbies, historically the best of Australia’s Super Rugby sides, to the Super Rugby finals.

    Unlike Cheika, though, Larkham has no trophies to show for his coaching stints.

    He was, admittedly, one of greatest players in the history of rugby. But great players, in most sports, rarely make great coaches.

    The fact is that there is nothing in Larkham’s career that suggests he can be a successful coach of the Wallabies.

    There was nothing in his coaching record that suggested he could even be a successful assistant. In his time with the Brumbies, as an assistant coach and then a head coach, the Brumbies were noted for their lack of flair and adventure in their back play.

    This failure by Larkham to coach effective, fluent, attractive and high-scoring attacking play was carried through to the Wallabies, according to Michael Cheika.

    My main takeout from all of this is that Rugby Australia and the Super Rugby franchises have promoted too many favourite sons to positions of coaching authority. Favouritism has trumped accomplishments.

    Good coaches have been denied higher positions. Favourites, without any real records of success, have been promoted to jobs they should not have been appointed to.

    The end result of this selection by favouritism method is that there is no one coaching within the Wallabies or the Super Rugby franchises who has the record of achievement a Wallabies coach should have.

    This is why, it seems, that when Michael Cheika goes Stephen Larkham somehow becomes his inevitable successor.

    And it seems to me that this system of selection by favouritism is still at work.

    Can anyone inside the NSW Waratahs organisation explain to the rugby public how Chris Whitaker, the newly-appointed defence coach of the Waratahs and clearly in line to take over as head coach when Daryl Gibson goes, got the job?

    There are very many Australian coaches, here in Australia and overseas, who have better credentials than Whitaker.

    Were any of these coaches considered for what is one of the more important coaching jobs in Australian rugby? If not, why not.

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    https://omny.fm/shows/the-alan-jones-breakfast-show/cameron-clyne

    Link to Senate Report http://www.aph.gov.au/senate_ca

    https://www.change.org/p/rugby-australia-petition-for-cameron-clyne-to-resign-as-chairman-of-the-rugby-australia-board

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    Veteran Sheikh's Avatar
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    There are times when Spiro talks an awful lot of sense

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    Veteran Bakkies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheikh View Post
    There are times when Spiro talks an awful lot of sense
    He should stick to this rather than write drivel about European Rugby.

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    https://omny.fm/shows/the-alan-jones-breakfast-show/cameron-clyne

    Link to Senate Report http://www.aph.gov.au/senate_ca

    https://www.change.org/p/rugby-australia-petition-for-cameron-clyne-to-resign-as-chairman-of-the-rugby-australia-board

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bakkies View Post
    He should stick to this rather than write drivel about European Rugby.
    I agree, he has been a submissive RA pawn since his forced apology and it looks like the chains are finally breaking and he is unleashing on Clyne and co once and for all. Let's hope he keeps the momentum up, it might spur guys like Wayne Smith to get back on board and help burn Clyne, Raelene and the inept board to ashes and actually help save Australian rugby.

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    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    Maybe Clyne has put the word out that he’ll step down after this year’s RWC junket and so they know they can unleash with impunity now?

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    Jones, Growden and Spiro will be a tag team that will keep the CEO awake at night.

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    https://omny.fm/shows/the-alan-jones-breakfast-show/cameron-clyne

    Link to Senate Report http://www.aph.gov.au/senate_ca

    https://www.change.org/p/rugby-australia-petition-for-cameron-clyne-to-resign-as-chairman-of-the-rugby-australia-board

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alison View Post
    Maybe Clyne has put the word out that he’ll step down after this year’s RWC junket and so they know they can unleash with impunity now?
    Hopefully ASIC and the Federal Court will keep him busy after today’s announcement.

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    https://omny.fm/shows/the-alan-jones-breakfast-show/cameron-clyne

    Link to Senate Report http://www.aph.gov.au/senate_ca

    https://www.change.org/p/rugby-australia-petition-for-cameron-clyne-to-resign-as-chairman-of-the-rugby-australia-board

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    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bakkies View Post
    Hopefully ASIC and the Federal Court will keep him busy after today’s announcement.
    He’ll have friends who’ll ensure he gets off scot free as usual.

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    I think this time they will throw each other under the bus to save themselves. There will also be pressure from shareholders and whoever is in Government.

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    https://omny.fm/shows/the-alan-jones-breakfast-show/cameron-clyne

    Link to Senate Report http://www.aph.gov.au/senate_ca

    https://www.change.org/p/rugby-australia-petition-for-cameron-clyne-to-resign-as-chairman-of-the-rugby-australia-board

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    From the Oz Wayne smith below
    (I love the bit where patsy says there is no gentleman’s agreement ! There would be a maximum of one gentleman in any arrangement he entered into)

    .”There are, as it happens, two ways in which a sitting chairman of Rugby Australia can be removed — by an internal coup of the RA board or by a revolt of the states.

    For all the fanciful talk of Cameron Clyne being toppled by his board, there is scant evidence to suggest this might happen.

    There is believed to be widespread agreement among the *directors that Clyne is doing his best under trying circumstances, and the popular conspiracy theory that board member Ann Sherry will challenge him for the position breaks down on two fronts. She has shown no signs of disloyalty *towards him — just the opposite, in fact — and, more importantly, her term on the board comes to an end at Rugby Australia’s annual general meeting on April 8.

    READ NEXT

    Doyle accuser confronts council
    CHIP LE GRAND, REMY VARGA
    It’s in the nature of conspiracies that little comes to the light of day before the deed is done, but if there is a threat coming from Clyne’s fellow directors then it certainly has been well hidden.

    That would appear to leave his fate in the hands of the states. The two foundation states, NSW and Queensland, each have three votes; the other two states with Super Rugby franchises — Victoria and the ACT — have two votes each; while the remaining states and territories, plus the Rugby Union Players Association, have one vote apiece. (Among the many indignities that Western Australia had to suffer with the culling of the Western Force, one of the most galling was that their voting privileges were cut back from two to one in 2017.)

    There are 15 votes all up and even if NSW and Queensland united — which hardly ever happens although there is more co-operation now that Roger David and Jeff Miller have become *respective state chairmen — they still would not have the numbers on their own to force a change.

    Still, if the two powerhouse rugby states united in an effort to force the RA chairman out, they would need only two more votes to remove Clyne — and there is little doubt a still-seething Western Australia would be one of them.

    Clyne’s term is scheduled to end in April next year but there is a provision in the constitution that allows the chairman to extend his term for three years if required.

    The belief Clyne had reached a gentlemen’s agreement to stand aside following the World Cup in September-October was punctured yesterday when he told The Australian no such deal existed.

    “A gentlemen’s agreement with who?” asked Clyne in bewilderment. “There is no gentlemen’s agreement. We run a normal governance process. Ann has been a fantastic director, a very professional board member. It ultimately comes down to the members. They understand that we are spending a lot of time on a whole range of subjects, making certain that there is alignment on high performance, and we have been very involved with Queensland on the redevelopment of Ballymore.”

    There is no question that the mood at the QRU will be heavily influenced by whether their joint efforts with Rugby Australia to *secure state and federal government funding support to preserve Ballymore — which is eating up $1.5 million in maintenance costs a year — are successful.

    Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle has played a critical role in lobbying the government and opposition in Canberra to back the redevelop*ment, and she is scheduled to travel to Brisbane next week for further talks on the subject with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

    All of that, coupled with the help RA gave in securing Reds *attack coach Jim McKay and, to a lesser extent, defence coach Peter Ryan, while also playing a key role in the appointment of Pat Richards as director of coaching, has the QRU well satisfied with its *relationship with the national body and, by extension, with Clyne continuing as chairman.

    NSW’s position is *unclear, with key officials unavailable to speak with The Australian, while elsewhere the other states reported no attempts to enlist their support to topple the chairman.

    Clyne’s reign has been arguably the most turbulent of any Australian rugby official in history. He steered through the decision to axe the Force from the competition in 2017 and the resentment in the West and elsewhere shows no signs of receding. Having driven that unpopular decision, there was *an expectation he would take his leave, much as Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver had done.

    Instead, he has battled on, continuing to survive even as the Wallabies sank last year to their worst performance in half a century.

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    Veteran Bakkies's Avatar
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    Article smacks of Wayne trying to stay inside the tent so his Qld mates get a bail out.

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    https://omny.fm/shows/the-alan-jones-breakfast-show/cameron-clyne

    Link to Senate Report http://www.aph.gov.au/senate_ca

    https://www.change.org/p/rugby-australia-petition-for-cameron-clyne-to-resign-as-chairman-of-the-rugby-australia-board

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bakkies View Post
    Article smacks of Wayne trying to stay inside the tent so his Qld mates get a bail out.
    RugbyWA had to hand over their Force Super licence for a RA bail out.

    So can we expect Qld to have to do the same?

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    Veteran Bakkies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSJ View Post
    RugbyWA had to hand over their Force Super licence for a RA bail out.

    So can we expect Qld to have to do the same?
    Of course not.

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    https://omny.fm/shows/the-alan-jones-breakfast-show/cameron-clyne

    Link to Senate Report http://www.aph.gov.au/senate_ca

    https://www.change.org/p/rugby-australia-petition-for-cameron-clyne-to-resign-as-chairman-of-the-rugby-australia-board

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bakkies View Post
    Article smacks of Wayne trying to stay inside the tent so his Qld mates get a bail out.
    You mean another bailout. They just had a bail out.

    This is a case of tracing the money and making a prediction ... the QRU has already been funnelled funds and they're not inclined to bite the hand that feeds.

    Whether Smith wants to be "inside the tent", or not, has bugger all effect. It comes down to the respective parties' self-interest.

    Speaking of which, Raelene will be pushing shit uphill to get money out of a state government two years out from an election. Unless something is made specific to that government's interest, then spending priorities remain elsewhere. Rugby union rarely makes it onto the radar screen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiap View Post
    You mean another bailout. They just had a bail out.

    This is a case of tracing the money and making a prediction ... the QRU has already been funnelled funds and they're not inclined to bite the hand that feeds.

    Whether Smith wants to be "inside the tent", or not, has bugger all effect. It comes down to the respective parties' self-interest.

    Speaking of which, Raelene will be pushing shit uphill to get money out of a state government two years out from an election. Unless something is made specific to that government's interest, then spending priorities remain elsewhere. Rugby union rarely makes it onto the radar screen.
    Pretty sure that was to have their annual funding sent in advance. They will have another shortfall due to the maintenance costs and low ticket sales.

    Rugby is big enough amongst the Nationals due to going to boarding schools. Tim Horan’s father Mike was state party leader.

    Let’s not forget that the Howard Government approved the Ballymore development which also allowed access for other sports. Tin Tin went in and blocked it.

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    https://omny.fm/shows/the-alan-jones-breakfast-show/cameron-clyne

    Link to Senate Report http://www.aph.gov.au/senate_ca

    https://www.change.org/p/rugby-australia-petition-for-cameron-clyne-to-resign-as-chairman-of-the-rugby-australia-board

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