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Thread: How will the Australian sides fair in the Super 14?

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    How will the Australian sides fair in the Super 14?

    26 Jan 2007 by Rollo Manning

    Ozzie rugby fans will find out how good the depth of strength for quality players is for the Wallabies when the Super 14 competition kicks off on 2nd February, 2007.

    All four Super 14 teams have their interest and intrigue.

    For Queensland it is whether Eddie Jones can be a successful coach and turn around the fortunes of the lowly ranked Reds team. The Waratahs will launch the combination at half/five eighth of Josh Holmes and Kurtley Beale, “veterans” of Wallaby under 19 and under 21 teams for the past three years. For Laurie Fisher at the Brumbies it will be whether he can bring the youngsters along that seem destined to take over this year from the veterans of the past – Gregan, Larkham, Paul and Mortlock.

    The Western Force under Coach John Mitchell in their second year will be out to show the good form towards the end of the 2006 competition was no fluke and with the good recruiting during the off season will make a bigger impact in 2007.

    The backline for the Force reads like a who’s who of upcoming stars. Established professionals Drew Mitchell, Matt Giteau, Scott Staniforth and Cameron Shepherd are joined by rugby league convert Ryan Cross and young speedster Digby Ione. This will form one of the best lineups in the tournament. For the Force, as with the other three Ozzie teams the forwards will be the key to success. Mitchell will be particularly keen to see youngsters like David Pocock (Flanker) and Pekahou Cowan (Prop) deliver so the backs can take charge.

    The time may have come when some hookers should consider a future career in a prop forward position. Wallaby hookers Jeremy Paul, Brendan Cannon, Adam Frier and Stephen Moore are joined by Saia Faingaa (Brumbies), Tatafu Polota-Nau (Waratahs), Sean Hardman (Reds) and Tai McIsaac (Force).

    Tough talking Ewan McKenzie at Waratahs has the brightest hopes in Beale and Holmes – the likely replacements for Gregan/Larkham combination. McKenzie has been having strong words to the Australian Rugby Union and its policy towards “restricted training activity”. McKenzie has told the ARU to stay out of the management of the Super 14 players and leave it to the provinces to manage their own players.

    Laurie Fisher, coach of the Brumbies, has a solid stable of promising youngsters and given the opportunities he will certainly look forward to a good rebuilding year. In 2006 early rounds when the stars were out with injury the younger Brumbies players really stepped up but then Fisher seemed to think he had to go back to the tried and true and that is when they started to slip away on the ladder. It is to be hoped that this year more will be seen of these younger players.

    The concern being expressed at the ability of Stephen Larkham to be fit for the World Cup in September loses some its importance when the bunch of up and coming pivots is considered. Lead by Kurtley Beale, whose performances for that great Australian nursery for rugby players, St Josephs College in Sydney, have been outstanding; is joined by Quade Cooper (Reds) and last years find Berrick Barnes (Reds). Also interest for the Reds will be how former rugby league Canberra Raiders captain and full back Clinton Schifcofske adapts to the 15 a side game.

    The team most likely to be in the final four again must be the Waratahs. Coach McKenzie, now in his fourth year in the position, has shown an astute mind in analyzing the opposition game plan and strategically counters opposition strengths. This translates into a winning style through versatility in tactics. The Reds have been struggling and it is hard to see how the failed Wallaby coach in Eddie Jones can turn that around. The Brumbies still have some building to do and so long as Fisher plays his young stars in they will have a solid year.

    The Western Force could be the surprise packet of the competition just as the Cheetahs did in 2006. With talent across the park and Mitchell as the coach expect a winning run and a possible final four position for the boys from the West.

    Waratahs on top followed by the Force.

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    Veteran Sagerian's Avatar
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    Tahs'll end up flying the Aussie flag again but a semi spot is no sure thing.

    I picked the Force for about 9th and I'll stick to that, Reds to finish 12th or 13th...

    Waratahs
    Brumbies
    Force
    Reds

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    I'm backing the Force for the top 4. A red hot backline and a tight five that can cut it. The backrow is an area we need to get up to speed. 9 is a problem

    The Tahs will be woeful. They have lost too many locks. They will struggle to get the ball until the middle of the tournament and their backline looks decidedly short on speed. Tuquiri has lost heart. Kurtley Beale is like a turnstyle in defence and won't play too much. Watch out for Josh Holmes at 9. This kid is the goods. Why the Tahs bought Valentine from QLD is a mystery. I think the Tahs will finish mid table

    The Brumbies have some great unknowns coming through. They have a core of experience and will be competitive. They will be in the running for the top 4 but may just fall short.

    The Reds will be an abortion. Their backline is thin on for quality. They have some good young forwards but they have nothing in the backs. They will be contesting the spoon

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    "Ozzie"?

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    Veteran Sagerian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiselhead
    The Tahs will be woeful. They have lost too many locks. They will struggle to get the ball until the middle of the tournament and their backline looks decidedly short on speed. Tuquiri has lost heart. Kurtley Beale is like a turnstyle in defence and won't play too much. Watch out for Josh Holmes at 9. This kid is the goods. Why the Tahs bought Valentine from QLD is a mystery. I think the Tahs will finish mid table
    I think the lineout will surprise a few people, but not many... The backline has plenty of speed, Hangers, Two-Dads, Turner, Siale, Beale....

    Holmes is definitely going to be the goods, if the Tahs don't get a good start early they should start blooding him.

    Great post by the way, who knew you sportal folk could post.

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    Player chiselhead's Avatar
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    Sheehan........tough but stupid. Short on skill. Wears his heart on his sleeve but Josh Holmes should be the starting 9 by mid season

    Halangahua........the perennial troubles at 10. he is shite. Beale aint ready. After what happened against the Crusaders, Kurtley will have plenty of 110KG backrowers charging at him when he comes on. The kid is a speed bump and a liability until they bulk him up and teach him to tackle. he aint playing school kiddies anymore

    Toohey's Newy.......the most over rated back of his generation. fat and in the way

    Ben Jacobs.......a decent lad but plays on one knee and not likely to set the super 14 alight

    Sam Two-dads........real pace. If he gets any decent ball which is unlikely he may create some havoc

    Tuqiri..........His head is bigger than his asking price which is ridiculous. More interested in a switch back to league than training. Get rid of him now before he derails the wallabies with his ego. No "I" in team

    The rest are wannabes

    The Tahs tight five will trouble nobody. TPN may be useful but they will probably play the midget Freier. Ben Robinson is a real tough little bastard but a bit small to be world class but he will get there. they need to get him onto some designer Roids

    Vickerman and Kanaar are gone for most of the tournament. Lyons is so fat he won't trouble a genuine lock at lineout time. Elsom is average at best in the lineout. Caldwell is a hard hitter and may step up. I haven't seen too much of him in the lineout

    No ball and shite backs. They won't win the big games because the tight five is not up to it. They will struggle.

    Beale is not the saviour..........yet. By all accounts the kid is the goods but will struggle in his first year

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    Veteran Sagerian's Avatar
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    I'd like to see Two-Dads at 10, I think he's wasted (not just think, he IS wasted) at 15. Hangers I want to see spend some time at 12.

    I'm not ready to jump on the Beale bandwagon yet myself, if he is to be the first good 10 we've ever had, you can't throw him straight in. Maybe ease im in at 12 also through the season.

    I'm curious how they'd go with Elsom and Caldwell as lock combinations, Waugh and Beau Robinson as flankers and Palu at 8. The lineout isn't going to be flash anyway but at least there's 3 halfway recognised jumpers (caldwell, elsom and palu). We usually nick our locks from the Brumbies but I guess they forgot this year.

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    Player chiselhead's Avatar
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    I'm a huge fan of Palu. Apparently he had a whale of a game (first half ) against the Crusaders. This bloke has the size and mongrel that Australian rugby needs. He is great at 8. I was a big supporter of Lyons thinking he just needed more experience to come good..........he hasn't and he's too fat. I'm not sure why Sydney can't produce 2M + giants because they aren't going to soccer. Perhaps the basketball team is knicking them. Perhaps the Sydney water stunts growth. Warragamba damn is down and maybe there is toxic algae?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sagerian
    I'd like to see Two-Dads at 10, I think he's wasted (not just think, he IS wasted) at 15. Hangers I want to see spend some time at 12.

    I'm not ready to jump on the Beale bandwagon yet myself, if he is to be the first good 10 we've ever had, you can't throw him straight in. Maybe ease im in at 12 also through the season.

    I'm curious how they'd go with Elsom and Caldwell as lock combinations, Waugh and Beau Robinson as flankers and Palu at 8. The lineout isn't going to be flash anyway but at least there's 3 halfway recognised jumpers (caldwell, elsom and palu). We usually nick our locks from the Brumbies but I guess they forgot this year.
    Hewat is a good 15 and proven
    Tend to agree re Two daddies. He is a Larkham clone but with genuine speed. He would leave Larkham in his dust. He could be anything. I'd play him at 10 but Link is a prop and has no clue about backline play. Link's game plans leave a lot to be desired.

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    Last edited by Burgs; 27-01-07 at 16:41. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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