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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Friday’s Rugby Information from The Masked Avenger

Friday’s Rugby Information from The Masked Avenger

Welcome to Friday once more. There isn’t any Wallabies match this weekend, so minimize your self a slice of sausage and choo on this little lot. TMA


In yesterday’s information, however dropping a little bit too late for ParForCourse’s morning bulletin,  Eddie Jones named a squad of 33 for the forthcoming Bledisloe Cup marketing campaign:

Forwards: Allan Alaalatoa, Richie Arnold, Angus Bell, Pone Fa’amausili, Matt Faessler*, Nick Frost, Langi Gleeson, Jed Holloway, Tom Hooper, Rob Leota, Fraser McReight, Matt Philip, David Porecki, Will Skelton, Blake Schoupp*, James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Jordan Uelese, Rob Valetini.

Backs: Quade Cooper, Lalakai Foketi, Carter Gordon, Andrew Kellaway, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Ryan Lonergan*, Tate McDermott, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Izaia Perese, Jordan Petaia, Suliasi Vunivalu, Nic White. 

Within the ute: Ben Donaldson, Dylan Pietsch*.

Within the esky: Michael Hooper.

(* denotes virginity)

Out of the squad following the Argentina Check are Matt Gibbon, Josh Kemeny and Pete Samu. I’m not shocked to see Samu excluded – in my thoughts, and as I mentioned final week, he’s certainly one of 4 gamers who may be inked in for each necessary match for the remainder of 2023 (the others being Nick Frost, Rob Valetini and Len Ikitau). And if Jones has put Pete apart for now, it’s an indication that the Bledisloe Exams are usually not all that necessary in his thoughts. They’re choice trials, and they’ll permit Tom Hooper, Rob Leota, Langi Gleeson and Jed Holloway to bid for his or her plots within the again row as we form up for France.

However but. Who is aware of what’s taking place inside Eddie Jones’s pointy little head? Possibly he actually doesn’t price Pete Samu all that extremely. Possibly Pete gained’t be going to France. If he’s not in Jones’s remaining 33, I’m giving up. Name me on the eve of the 2027 RWC, when Phil Waugh sacks Jones and hires, um, Ian Foster.

Additionally out of the image is Reece Hodge. Two weeks in the past I wrote right here that Hodge’s title was “the primary I might pencil in for any Wallabies 23”. Forty-eight hours later, after the Pretoria Pantsing, I hoped readers might need forgotten these phrases. Nevertheless it took solely the unhappy sight of Len Ikitau with a busted shoulder final Saturday night time to underline the worth of Hodge, who can fill in as five-eighth, both centre, both wing and fullback, and brings an enormous boot besides.

At Parramatta, Jones’s 6:2 bench all of the sudden appeared like a mistake. The Wallabies received on with the sport and Carter Gordon had a bloody good crack, however sending your spare five-eighth out, 5 minutes right into a Check, to play centre is simply sub-optimal.

Once I was writing and enhancing right here on the GAGR weblog a few decade in the past, I used to be authorised to set a number of model guidelines and customary codecs. There have been a dozen alternative ways to set out a 23 – , 15 to 9, then 1 to eight, then 16 to 23; or 15 to 1, then 16 to 23, and so  forth. I can’t keep in mind what we settled on however I did insist that we not name 16 to 23 ‘Replacements’, as was changing into customary in most media. It’s simply not logical to name a participant a substitute till he really runs on and replaces somebody. Till that point, he’s a possible substitute, or just a reserve.

I carry this problem up now as a result of I feel it’s nonetheless pertinent to ponder whether or not 16 to 23 are there primarily as a tactical power, with their deployment deliberate all the way down to the minute, or primarily as cowl for accidents. Possibly it’s primarily tactical for the fowards and primarily contingent for the backs. Anyway, Hodge is out for now, so I ponder whom Jones will choose to cowl 11-to-15.

And Suliasi Vunivalu remains to be in. My guess right here is that Hamish McLennan and Eddie Jones have hung their manhood out within the media with regards to recruiting from rugby league, they usually’ve agreed that they’ll’t threat the ridicule that might come their method in the event that they needed to acknowledge that the Vunivalu experiment has failed. So Suli stays, however he don’t performs.

Coming again to the Wallabies forwards, I beloved this remark from onlinesideline (time to jot down an article…?) on Charlie’s Monday information weblog submit:

“I’ve to say I used to be HUGELY joyful to see sure components of their sport that I haven’t seen in years and years and this offers me hope – specifically the reset pace, the depth involved, pods of 4 and 5 forwards that appeared joined on the hip transferring into our rucks and their rucks (really counter rucking), pods of 4 and 5 defending, the entire workforce stepping into place to defend as one actually actually rapidly. I used to be continuously saying, “YES, YES, thats it FINALLY”

“To my eye the argies appear shocked on the protection pace, the pods, the depth they usually appeared rattled many occasions and lots of occasions had been placed on their arse. The self-discipline and sport plan may be mounted. THIS sport it was the forwards that shone large time in methods I havent seen in 20 years. They had been immense and this argies facet is a bloody good facet, filled with items and unimaginable expertise out broad. Our backs had been the weak hyperlink on this sport, for years they’ve saved us and smoothed over cracks of aussie forwards having a tonne of deficiences.

“I walked away with a number of confidence after this match as a result of the workforce had been massively aggressive and efficient too, physique top was MUCH higher. We’d like a Pocock / Smith badly although [ . . . ]

“I feel our forwards appeared soooo ON. I’ll swim towards the tide right here, however to the individuals who say the wallabies had been woeful, I feel they dont know what they’re speaking about. If this depth is repeated typically its a very good start line for an honest workforce [ . . . ]

“I sense POSSIBILITY ONLY of one thing large coming — who is aware of, however they’re CAPABLE.”

Final night time I watched the Argentina match once more carefully  – and by that I imply I spent practically 5 hours with Stan dialled up on the iPad, with Maloney, Harrison et al torturing my ears, watching the whole lot that occurred a number of occasions over till I used to be certain I understood the who, the what and the when. And like onlinesideline, I completed up impressed and even a little bit bit joyful after seeing the enhancements in energy, precision and coordination on the a part of our forwards. It’s not all there but, not by any means, they usually’re not about to begin dominating both the set piece or the acquire line. However they’re higher, and getting betterer. 

In addition to Samu, Frost and naturally Valetini, I’m prepared to maneuver Allan Alaalatoa (who was simply ferocious taking it up, tackling and within the scrum, and appears as match as a tighthead prop may be) into the must-pick column. He didn’t have a completely joyful night time, with penalties and a few dropped balls inflicting him seen frustration, however he’s centered, proud and dedicated with each little bit of himself. 

Additionally giving the whole lot had been Fraser McReight, Will Skelton (a behemoth) and Richie Arnold. It truly is price watching these guys with a decent focus – you see a lot extra work being achieved than exhibits up within the stats and the highlights. James Slipper and David Porecki by no means stopped attempting and broke the Pumas entrance row on a few events. Later within the match, Matt Philip, Angus Bell and Rob Leota tore into the tiring Pumas with extra focus and dedication than we’ve seen in gold for a very long time.

Within the backs, Mark Nawaqanitawase achieved must-pick standing in a single match. Reality be instructed, he’d achieved sufficient final 12 months to point out that he’s gold customary. Marika Koroibete . . . gee, he was not good on the night time. He’s a keeper for certain, however his efforts to be busy towards Argentina saved going fallacious. As Brumby Runner identified within the feedback on the Monday information, Marika accomplished only one deal with in a match the place the Wallabies made greater than 200. He missed 4 that I counted, every time as a result of he was speeding again to his wing after straying from his submit (presumably as a part of a job-swap plan with Samu Kerevi and Tom Wright . . . I’m undecided abour that) and it was straightforward for the likes of Emiliano Boffelli, Rodrigo Isgro and Lucio Cinti to step inside him, leaving him clutching madly at skinny air. 

I’ll write a bit extra concerning the Argentina match in a minute. However whereas we’re taking a look at squad lists, some pertinent information has washed in from the summery north. 

Wales have a coaching camp in Turkiye developing and are taking a fats squad of 43: 

Forwards: Keiron Assiratti*, Taine Basham, Adam Beard, Ben Carter, Rhys Davies, Elliot Dee, Corey Domachowski*, Ryan Elias, Tomas Francis, Dafydd Jenkins, Dewi Lake, Dillon Lewis, Dan Lydiate, Kemsley Mathias*, Jac Morgan, Sam Parry, Taine Plumree, Tommy Reffell, Will Rowlands, Christ Tshiunza, Nicky Smith, Gareth Thomas, Henry Thomas*, Aaron Wainwright, Teddy Williams.

Backs: Josh Adams, Gareth Anscombe, Dan Biggar, Sam Costelow, Gareth Davies, Rio Dyer, Cai Evans*, Mason Grady, Leigh Halfpenny, Kieran Hardy, Max Llewellyn*, George North, Louis Rees-Zammit, Tom Rogers, Nick Tompkins, Keiran Williams*, Liam Williams, Tomos Williams.

You’ll have observed Exeter Chiefs lock Christ Tshiunza within the checklist. No phrase on whether or not he’s been seen on a motorbike currently. Not within the squad is Taulupe Faletau, who’s nursing a calf. And likewise has a leg damage. 

Run a watch over the checklist once more and see in case you can spot the opposite conspicuous absence. Yep – Jones. There’s not a single Jones within the Welsh nationwide rugby coaching squad. Certain, they’ve picked Dafydd Jenkins and Rhys Davies, a Gareth or two and a number of other every of Thomas and Williams, but when they’re going to the Phrase Cup with out a single Jones . . . effectively, they’re simply not taking part in to their strengths. Warren Gatland will rue this insanity, you mark my phrases.

Wales play two Exams towards England and one towards South Africa in August, after which Gatland will title his 33-man squad for France.

England, in the meantime, are coaching with a game-ready squad of 39. Steve Borthwick not too long ago minimize flanker Sam Underhill, one of many stars of the Eddie Jones period. Not coaching because of damage however notionally within the wider squad are two Vunipolas (Billy and Mako), two Ollies (Chessum and Lawrence) and Jack “One Bourbon, One Scotch, No Beer” Walker. 

Forwards: Jamie Blamire, Dan Cole, Tom Curry, Theo Dan, Alex Dombrandt, Ben Earl, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Jonny Hill, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Joe Marler, George Martin, Tom Pearson, Val Rapava-Ruskin, David Ribbans, Kyle Sinckler, Will Stuart, Jack Willis, Tom Willis.

Backs: Henry Arundell, Danny Care, Joe Cokanasiga, Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Max Malins, Joe Marchant, Jonny Might, Cadan Murley, Man Porter, Henry Slade, Marcus Smith, Freddie Steward, Manu Tuilagi, Jack van Poortvliet, Anthony Watson, Ben Youngs.

England will play a Check each weekend in August – Wales twice, Eire and Fiji.



I can’t keep in mind the place I first examine this, however I want I might see it.  A play referred to as ‘Bones’, concerning the psychological facet of rugby, is working in a theatre in London. The spiel says: 

“Bones is a dynamic and daring bodily theatre manufacturing that ignites the collaboration between rugby and theatre to deal with the stigma surrounding psychological well being. It pairs electrical new writing, with excessive depth set items that immerse you into the spectacular world of rugby.

“Ed is used to getting injured taking part in rugby, however he’s by no means confronted an damage that he couldn’t see earlier than. When his psychological well being makes it really feel like he’s taking over a whole rugby workforce by himself, will his teammates stand by his facet or stay seated on the side-line? Beneath strain to guide his workforce by to the regional semi-finals, Ed feels the complete weight of expectation and hope, and it’s impacted him in ways in which he might have by no means imagined.”

Theatre lighting is the place I put my energies as a youngster, after terminal clumsiness and low ache threshold ended my multi-code soccer profession. I’d like to see how they’re presenting the expertise of a rugby match with a small forged on a small stage. The video trailer offers an concept of what it’s like.


Charlie’s information report on Monday introduced ahead a pointy remark about TMO Marius Jonker from veteran GAGR commenter Who?: “One would suppose that having to offer two earlier apologies for his performances would have WR determine to not make us undergo his bias anymore…”

On the Wallabies’ northern tour on the finish of 2021, a Jonker intervention within the Check towards Scotland received a Wallabies strive disallowed and Allan Alaalatoa yellow-carded . The Wallabies misplaced that one 15–13, however World Rugby later confirmed to Dave Rennie that the choice was incorrect and furnished a uncommon apology. Later within the tour, Jonker was on responsibility within the Wallabies’ match towards Wales and supplied the calls that noticed Kurtley Beale yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on and Welsh centre Nick Tompkins excused for doing the identical factor, en path to a runaway strive that helped preserve Wales within the match – which they gained 29–28 with a post-siren penalty purpose to Rhys Priestland.

After the Wales match, Rennie unloaded to the press about Jonker. It wouldn’t assist to get one other mid-week apology, he mentioned; he needed the officers to be held accountable for his or her errors. However he was caught up within the Rassie Erasmus controversy, and needed to again down.

So Marius Jonker remains to be getting TMO gigs, and nonetheless getting Wallabies matches. 

Jonker vs the Wallabies 2023, Spherical 1: It’s the primary minute of the Sydney Check match. Argentina makes a break down the left facet after a uncommon miss in defence by Len Ikitau, and raid contained in the Wallabies’ 22. After a few phases of forwards collisions, the ball comes left to Julián Montoya, who runs at Nic White. White stops him, although he goes down after the influence, and Len Ikitau finishes the deal with. On the following part, Santiago Carreras kicks the ball too arduous by the Wallabies’ line and it goes useless.

Jaco Peyper requires a restart from the 22 however because the Wallabies get set for the kick, he says “No arms deal with.” There isn’t any audio from Jonker and no replays on the stadium display screen. Peyper addresses James Slipper and factors to White, saying “We’re going to play a penalty towards him, not clearly getting a wrap within the deal with.”

Rewinding the TV recording exhibits White getting set and going low to fulfill Montoya, his arms unfold in entrance. He makes contact along with his proper shoulder on the hooker’s left hip. Montoya’s proper leg remains to be driving into the contact, out of attain of White’s left arm.What occurs subsequent is usually obscured by the massive arse of Matias Alemanno. White’s proper arm drops after the influence and his white wrist bandage may be seen on the bottom, adopted by his shoulder and head, between  Alemanno’s toes, beneath the falling Montoya and Ikitau.

So a halfback tackled a charging hooker front-on, shoulder to hip, and was bounced to the bottom earlier than he was in a position to grasp a leg, or anything. Jonker will need to have been ragingly determined to go looking for an offence there. However Peyper believed him and gave the penalty to Argentina. Not less than Boffelli missed the purpose try.

Jonker vs the Wallabies 2023, Spherical 2: It’s halfway by the second half and the Wallabies are on assault once they lose the ball and Peyper blows the whistle for a knock-on. Tom Wright, who was tackled earlier within the play, will get shoved whereas nonetheless on the bottom by Matias Moroni. Wright will get up as Moroni turns away; he pushes him within the shoulder and the Argentinian goes into the trail of Rob Valetini, who’s strolling by. Valetini places two palms on Moroni’s again and pushes him out of the way in which. Moroni is already off-balance from Wright’s push, so Valetini’s shove blows him proper off his toes and he hits the bottom. There’s some crowd noise and a few Argentinians rush at Valetini. 

The radio trade between the ref and the TMO is comical:

Jonker: It was began by 23 blue after which 15 gold retaliated. So it was began by 23 blue after which quantity 8 gold joined after that. Began by 23 blue. 

Peyper: Say who began it, Marius. Say who began it?

Jonker: It was began by quantity 23 blue pushing a participant on the bottom after which quantity 8 gold joined in.

Peyper: So Marius, simply repeat – you’re saying that blue 23 began this? 

Jonker: Quantity 23 blue, appropriate, began it. 

Peyper: And is the response, is it disproportionate or is it the identical?

Jonker: There was a response by quantity 8, which is worse than the transgression by blue.

Peyper: Okay. So that you need me to show the penalty round, or not? 

Jonker: Yeah, you’ll be able to flip the penalty round. As a result of quantity 8 blue [sic] storms in and his actions are worse. 

Jonker’s recommendation was bullshit. Valetini didn’t take part, he didn’t storm in. He was strolling by, on his strategy to the scrum that Peyper had referred to as for, when Moroni lurched into his path, and he pushed him away, like a person avoiding with a staggering drunk exterior a pub. On the replay, it feels like Jonker was making the case for a penalty towards Moroni, however when Peyper requested “you need me to show the penalty round, or not?” he all of the sudden had an opportunity to shaft the Wallabies – and he couldn’t assist himself. He made up that “storms in and his actions are worse” shit up on the spot, and Peyper purchased it.

Jonker vs the Wallabies 2023, Spherical 3: It’s the 77th minute and from the kick-off (after Quade Cooper transformed Mark Nawaqanitawase’s intercept strive), Carter Gordon jumps for the ball however knocks it on. The ball goes into Argentinian palms and Peyper calls a play-on benefit. Pablo Matera instantly knocks it on. Cooper, who was transferring to deal with Matera, places an arm throughout his chest; the arm bounces up and contacts Matera’s chin. Matera reacts like he’s been karate-chopped within the throat. Mateo Carreras kicks the free ball ahead and runs after it. Samu Kerevi places an arm out to cease him and Carreras hits the turf, writhing and grimacing like he’s been liver-punched. Peyper requires a scrum for Gordon’s unique knock-on, however he has to blow time-off as a result of the trainers are gathered over Carreras. 

Jonker seems to be working replays to have a look at Gordon’s bounce for the kick-off. Gordon went up with one knee raised and his thigh contacted Boffelli’s facet, however Boffelli didn’t dive. Ultimately Jonker says “yeah that’s all clear”. Then this occurs:

Jonker: Jaco?

Peyper: Sure? 

Jonker: Erm, so the blue gamers kicks the ball after which is tackled late by a gold participant – 12 gold. [pause] Jaco are you able to hear me?  [pause] Jaco are you able to hear me? 

[Obviously not. Peyper marches over to AR James Doleman, who apparently has a signal from Jonker.]

Jonker: Jaco we’re gonna put this on the display screen for you. We’re gonna put it on a display screen. I need you to take a look on the actions of 12 gold after the kick.

[There is chatter – probably Doleman talking to Peyper, but Peyper can’t be heard – while the screen shows arm-on-hip contact between Kerevi and Carreras. Then it seems they’re looking at the contact between Cooper and Matera. Doleman (I think) says “It is high, it’s on the chin but it’s nothing more than a penalty”. Someone else says “It’s nothing” and a third voice says “Yeah I agree”.]

Peyper comes again on the air: So that you agree – Marius, you agree, we’re gonna begin with a penalty, only for the hit on the chin, nothing greater than a penalty.

It could be come comfort for the Wallabies that whereas Peyper and Doleman did discover an offence and award a penalty that helped Argentina win the match, it wasn’t for the offence that Jonker was attempting to prosecute.


Abuse of referees stays a scorching matter. Charlie talked about it within the rugby context in Monday’s information and on Wednesday, my comely colleague GoldyLocks requested why it appears to be so ingrained in soccer tradition.

That jogged my memory of the kerfuffle a few months again when the new story within the media was the alleged assault of a soccer ref within the alleged Sydney suburb of Greenacre. The alleged assailant, allegedly a kickboxer, was condemned in all places – together with right here on GAGR – when cell phone video of his face-breaking blows blew up on TV and YouTube. He was arrested and charged, and bail was allegedly refused. The alleged sufferer was showered in sympathy and donated funds, and have become a poster baby for the reason for harmless volunteer officers.

I all the time like to shut the loop on alleged controversies like this, so I assumed I’d place some alleged additional developments on the GAGR document. The matter was again in courtroom in Might and the Justice of the Peace was proven a barely longer video. It exhibits the alleged referee arguing with non-players when the alleged assailant comes working up from the facet. The ref sees or hears him coming, turns and steps out to fulfill the cost, already winding up for an overhand punch. He throws the haymaker, which takes a metric week to achieve its goal, and cops a brief one on the chin within the interim. Then he goes down and will get allegedly pummelled. 

When the video was proven in courtroom in Might, the Justice of the Peace launched the accused on bail with no objection from the prosecutor. Time will inform if the costs are dropped.

In June, the alleged referee was in courtroom on a distinct matter: he was charged with assault occasioning bodily hurt and reckless grievous bodily hurt over an alleged incident on the Railway Resort in Hornsby in March. He was allegedly working there as a bouncer and the alleged sufferer is allegedly a lady.

However severely, people – palms off the officers. Sure, even Marius Jonker.

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