Riddle me this: Australia, The Riddler’s Brutal Review

24 08 2007

Time to throw the cat out amongst the pigeons. Given there’d been no Australian review of the team going to the Rugby World Cup, resident one-eyed All Black fan – The Riddler asked if he could give it a shot. Grudgingly, I said yes…

Riddler?  One-eyed All Black fan!

It’s time to assess the Wallabies, or as they are more affectionately known to many of my kiwi brethren, the Wobblies. While Australia have a record second to none in this tournament, having won it twice, this squad they are sending to the world cup would be the weakest they have sent in the history of the competition.

So why do I think this squad is the weakest? It’s simple. The ARU have invested nothing in youth and gone with a squad made primarily of aging stars and rugby league converts. Previous squads have had a good blend of experience and talented youth and depth. This squad lacks it all in bucket loads.

The much maligned front row of Australia has improved a little this year. Matt Dunning… ClownThey are no longer pathetic. They are simply hopeless now. This is an area of notable weakness for them still. Matt Dunning, their great white hope (or dope) for the front row, is a joke at best. While this obese creature possesses the size to do well in the front row, he lacks the skill and fitness to see the game out.

Their locks are world standard but injury clouds surround them. The loosies are up to scratch but the likes of Smith, Waugh & co have lost a lot of the potency they had earlier in their careers, and the new bunch while possessing some talent, sadly lack the international exposure needed due to poor planning in giving them the necessary experience.

Next it is the Australian backline. Quite a few of the 1999 squad here and in 1999 they where amongst the elite of world rugby and arguably rated the best in the world in their positions. Roll on 2007. Gregan is long in the tooth and slow. Only thing that hasn’t slowed on him is his mouth and his constant yapping. Sadly he is the best and only option for the Aussies. He goes down injured and they are up shit creek without a paddle. They could use Giteau but he has proven to be inconsistent at best and has poor delivery for a halfback.
Next up is Larkham. Very talented and at his prime he was rated best in the world at his position. However nowadays he is held together by sticky tape and goes down injured at the sight of his own shadow. No real backup for him except Giteau again. Now we come the Giteau. In Oz, they think the sun shines out of his backside but that’s only in Aussie. He is a talented player but nowhere near as great as Aussies make him out to be. However when he is basically the only real talent to develop in the last five years in Aussie, can you really blame the Aussies for talking him up so much. They have nothing else to talk up.

Sterling effort that…Next it is Captain Crybaby, Stirling Mortlock. While I respect him as a player with a lot of talent, as a captain he is as classless as they come. His petulant crying after losing at Eden Park and plethora of excuses afterwards showed what a classless gimp he truly is. Teams will lift against Aussie just to beat them and get the comical display of Mortlock’s post match sulking.

Now its time for Lote Tuqiri. A league convert with a penchant for putting his foot in his mouth. He was at the top of his game a few seasons back but nowadays he is pretty ordinary. Very over-rated and out of form. Comes with a million dollar price tag but puts in hundred dollar performances on a consistent basis. The other wingers are ok but a lot of disharmony here as the other wingers where asked to take a pay cut to give an out of form over-rated hack like Tuqiri a pay rise.

Chris Latham - championFullback belongs to the best player on the Australian roster. Chris Latham is arguably the best fullback in the business but with 6 months out this season with a knee reconstruction and given he is in his 30s, he might lack the explosiveness he had 12 months ago. Very few athletes come back as good as they were before from a knee reconstruction and even when they do, it usually takes them a couple of years. Once again sadly for Australia, even a half fit Latham is better than the alternative, Australian rookie of the year Huxley.

Overall this squad is a very poor one by the standard of previous Australian squads. The strength, depth and talent of the Farr Jones and Eales squads of 1991 & 1999 are lacking in abundance. The Australia of recent years has proven to be a very insular side as well, being World-beaters at home yet struggling against moderate opposition away from home. Aside from a win over Ireland in 2005, they have failed miserably against top eight ranked sides outside of Australia since the last world cup.

The lack of depth they have was brutally exposed as well with a 49-0 drubbing of their B side by the Junior All Blacks. Far too many ifs and buts in this squad. They look nowhere near as solid as NZ, SA, France or Ireland. They have around 5 critical players where if any of them fall injured, they leave gaping holes, and a few of these players are high injury risks. Gregan, Larkham, Mortlock, Latham & Giteau must all remain uninjured throughout the tournament. Their scrum is weak and around 5 other countries should master them here. They have a horrendous away record to overcome. Something bound to play on their psyche. To me, these are far too many hurdles to overcome.

The WallabiesAlthough I don’t think they will win the tournament, they should still make it to the semi finals. As bad as this Australian squad is compared to previous Australian squads, it isn’t as bad as the Welsh one it will meet in pool play or the English one it will likely meet in the quarter final. After that, a likely showdown with the Kiwi’s in a semi final awaits them. They wont win this tournament but they will be competitive and keep their opposition honest.

And watching Mortlock break down in tears inthe post match conference after being beaten in the semi’s will be priceless.

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29 responses

24 08 2007
kip

If the Australians are so bad, how is that they beat the ABs in the Tri Nations and only conceded one try in the return leg?

Also your postulation that the Aussie squad is in some way superior to that of the English and Welsh is surprising and clearly wrong.

I think you miss the point here.

On the one hand you decry the Wallaby chances and on the other you say they will reach the semis.

It is clear to me that this article is flawed, ambiguous and slanted.

The 2007 World Cup will be a Northern Hemisphere affair with possibly the Springboks reaching the semis.

kip

24 08 2007
Mark Logsdon

Have to go with Kip on this, through the penultimate paragraph. Up till this posting, Riddler, you were going pretty well. This is just Aussie bashing for the purpose of wounding others at no expense to yourself. [I am a strong AB supporter.]

I don’t share Kip’s conclusion (which for reasons of space he does not supprt here) that this RWC will be a “NH affair”, but in fairness, he was not writing an article but rather commenting on your “flawed, ambiguous and slanted” one.

24 08 2007
Anja

Well. As Wallabie bashing goes, this one is a good one.
I tend to, however, agree with the other two comments. It’s a bit over the top and possibly lurking in amongst the words is the old Kiwi and Oz hate tradition, rather than a reasoned approach to a commentary.
So Mr one-eye, you have blotted your copy book a bit, but am sure you will make amends and let us have some really good stuff in the future, as we have enjoyed in the past.

24 08 2007
bob

LOL Riddler – talk about throwing the cat amongst the pidgeons! Have to say that I agree with the other comments that you have undersold the Aussies a bit here. They always seem to be able to pull something special out of the hat when it is needed.

24 08 2007
Cal

Hey, does anyone know how the Tall Blacks are going?

I read this and was actually having a bit of a chuckle all the way. I’m guessing it was designed as a bit of a s%^& stir, and it seems to have worked.

24 08 2007
withmalice

Definitely not MY appraisal of the team, that’s for sure.
The team went through a helluva lot of experimentation when Knuckles first came into control of them… and that did lead to quite a few losses in the tour of the NH.
I can guarantee you one thing – if this team gets rolling, and controls the game: they’ll go far (and should the ABs meet ’em, you cannot tell me that they won’t be more than just a lil’ worried).

And Kip? No way will it be 3 NH semi-finalists. More likely to be 3 SH (and if Argentina get rollin’… maybe even FOUR!).

24 08 2007
The Riddler

<<>>

Hey Kippy,
Obviously you didn’t understand this comment. “The Australia of recent years has proven to be a very insular side as well, being World-beaters at home yet struggling against moderate opposition away from home.” Playing Australia in Australia in the second hardest trip in world rugby. Sure they beat us at home. They boast an 86% win record there since the last world cup, only losing to SA once and the AB’s twice. Last decade they have a win record of 63% over the AB’s at home. Yet away from home, they go from world beater to plain awful, boasting a paltry 11% against top eight ranked sides. When you have a side that can beat anyone at home consistently, yet barely beat the likes of Italy away from home, clearly something is wrong with the psyche of this team playing away. As for only one try in the return leg, conditions dictated they style of play that day. Despite only one try being scored, Aussie were thoroughly thrashed that day. They didn’t get with 10 metres of the AB line or look like scoring a try.

<<>>

LMAO! Here you go singing the Aussies praises in one line saying how closely matched to the NZ one they are then follow it up by saying they aren’t superior to the English or Welsh. Are we to believe, using your logic, that England and Wales are on par with the AB’s? Wouldn’t expect much different from a one eyed pom like yourself.

<<>>

Such is the pitifulness of NH rugby outside of France and Ireland, you don’t have to be a great side to get to the semi’s. England and Wales are both a joke. Aussie have been blessed with a great draw. France, Ireland, Argentina, NZ or SA would love a Wales pool, England quarters run. One of the easiest assignments in world rugby.

<<>>

LOL! You want flawed, ambiguous and slanted. This comment by you more than covers it. The Frogs will be the only NH side left come semi’s time. The only two realistic NH hopes are in the same pool. One will likely top it, the other will exit there or to the AB’s in the quarters.

24 08 2007
The Riddler

[If the Australians are so bad, how is that they beat the ABs in the Tri Nations and only conceded one try in the return leg?]

Hey Kippy,
Obviously you didn’t understand this comment. “The Australia of recent years has proven to be a very insular side as well, being World-beaters at home yet struggling against moderate opposition away from home.” Playing Australia in Australia in the second hardest trip in world rugby. Sure they beat us at home. They boast an 86% win record there since the last world cup, only losing to SA once and the AB’s twice. Last decade they have a win record of 63% over the AB’s at home. Yet away from home, they go from world beater to plain awful, boasting a paltry 11% against top eight ranked sides. When you have a side that can beat anyone at home consistently, yet barely beat the likes of Italy away from home, clearly something is wrong with the psyche of this team playing away. As for only one try in the return leg, conditions dictated they style of play that day. Despite only one try being scored, Aussie were thoroughly thrashed that day. They didn’t get with 10 metres of the AB line or look like scoring a try.

[Also your postulation that the Aussie squad is in some way superior to that of the English and Welsh is surprising and clearly wrong.]

LMAO! Here you go singing the Aussies praises in one line saying how closely matched to the NZ one they are then follow it up by saying they aren’t superior to the English or Welsh. Are we to believe, using your logic, that England and Wales are on par with the AB’s? Wouldn’t expect much different from a one eyed pom like yourself.

[On the one hand you decry the Wallaby chances and on the other you say they will reach the semis.]

Such is the pitifulness of NH rugby outside of France and Ireland, you don’t have to be a great side to get to the semi’s. England and Wales are both a joke. Aussie have been blessed with a great draw. France, Ireland, Argentina, NZ or SA would love a Wales pool, England quarters run. One of the easiest assignments in world rugby.

[The 2007 World Cup will be a Northern Hemisphere affair with possibly the Springboks reaching the semis.]

LOL! You want flawed, ambiguous and slanted. This comment by you more than covers it. The Frogs will be the only NH side left come semi’s time. The only two realistic NH hopes are in the same pool. One will likely top it, the other will exit there or to the AB’s in the quarters.

24 08 2007
The Riddler

Cal,
Half s#@t stir, half truth. Aussie baiting is a national pastime we kiwi’s enjoy. Aussie are two sides, world beaters at home and timid little girls away from home.

Facts are Aussie have NO depth. They have about half a dozen players who if any of them go down it will be devastating to their chances. NZ & SA on the other hand have quality backups for every player and every position.

Aussie have real issues playing outside of Australia. They would be at least 20 points worse away from home. If this WC was played in Australia I would stick my house on them making the final. Away from Aussie however, they go from champs to chumps.

Have a look at the 91 & 99 Aussie sides and compare them to this one. There is no comparison. The 91 & 99 sides boasted impressive away records. They had depth, talent and a good blend of talented youth and experience. The 07 side have hardly any talented young players, the experienced players are well past their prime and this side has forgotten how to win outside of Australia.

I don’t think I have sold this Aussie side short. Fear them at home but away, they are hardly a fearsome encounter. Any side that names a putz like Julian Huxley rookie of the year is hardly one to be feared.

24 08 2007
The Riddler

[Riddler, you were going pretty well. This is just Aussie bashing]

Couldn’t help myself mate. It’s in the blood. Aussie Aussie Aussie Boo Boo Boo. MUWAHAHAHAHAHA!! Kip should just count his lucky stars I don’t do an England review. I would have him in tears LOL!

24 08 2007
withmalice

And how did the ABs go in their last away game? 😛

24 08 2007
kip

Go ahead riddler. I doubt you could write the first sentence without showing bias. Because of this your arguments are null and void. Whatever happened to journalistic integrity?

24 08 2007
withmalice

To be honest Kip (and others castigating the author), I told Riddler that he did not have to pull any punches on this. No Aussies have come forth to write – and he wanted to. I did want a piece that would maybe provoke a reaction. In that, I wasn’t disappointed.

24 08 2007
mandate

Can agree with a lot of what he says.
But I think he spends too much time worrying about the aussies away record.
So what if its not to good.It doesn’t matter.Only the next game is what matters.
Australia have showed on their day they can beat the a.b’s and thats good enough for me.

24 08 2007
zneakyp

I had a great laugh, thanks Riddles 😉 but they are a definite shoe in for a 03 repeat semi match up vs the ABs… but 1 must remember they were written off by everyone in that match as well, “ABs will romp home blah blah…”

My chest beating will begin should they win that match, i will be in NZ at that time. My brother’s wedding will be the morning of the final and we will be willing the boys to win or praying that the Boks can get the job done… (i cheered for the French 1 year and they were horrible… )

24 08 2007
withmalice

MUCH better avatar zneaky! 😛

25 08 2007
the riddler

[but 1 must remember they were written off by everyone in that match as well, “ABs will romp home blah blah…”]

Actually I didnt this match. The line on it was ridiculous. Something like 14.5 and I made a heap of money taking the Aussies at the line. Thought the AB’s would win but not by a lot. However away from Aussie, I will be expecting an Aussie-NZ match to go something in the tune of 15-20 points in favor of the AB’s

25 08 2007
mandate

How do I get an avatar?

25 08 2007
withmalice

Go to http://wordpress.com/ and work from there… create an account (you don’t need to make a blog… unless you want to).

27 08 2007
tellit

[editor’s note: edited name to reflect the email]
MADE UP OF RUGBY LEAGUE CONVERTS? YOU MEAN ONE? MORON.

27 08 2007
withmalice

Yes… someone who types entirely in capitals is well-equipped to call someone a … *ahem* … ‘moron’.

Oh, and by-the-way tellit, don’t come on bringing smart-ass names (name edit). If you’re going to criticize, at least have the guts to use the ID you’re known by. Cannot stand cowardice.

27 08 2007
mark_gibbson

Kip, did you not read Riddlers piece, mate? He said they fair well at home (world beaters infact) but their away record is found wanting. Whip-ee, the Aussies beat us finally. Took them long enough and I think that sums it up really over the course of 4 years since 03.

27 08 2007
mark_gibbson

I really think Riddler’s summary is a fair and accurate. Harsh, sure….hes not nice about it. But why should he be? Thats the truth. Australia have shown they can do nothing special away from home in recent years and this is something they will HAVE to work on. It’s not Aussie bashing IMO. I think you have some very fair and valid points here, Riddler. If a Mortlock or Larkham goes down….I don’t think the Australians will have enough depth either. Their abysmal away record and the share lack of depth are the reasons why the Wallabies will NOT go all the way this year in the WC. I’m sure of that.

27 08 2007
The Riddler

Spot on Gibbo. Its not the first time Kip has missed the point but with only one english eye open cant expect much more can we. When you compare this Aussie teams touring record to other Australian world cup squads and it is inferior to all them, some by a far margin. 91 & 99 squads where feared wherever they played and they could beat anyone anywhere without too much of a surprise. This team its a major surprise if they win away against quality opposition, such is the rarity of it. Only one team in the top eight with a worse away record than Oz and that is the Poms who cant beat an egg away from home.

28 08 2007
The Riddler

Tellit:

There’s only one left now (League Player). The others were too dumb to understand the basics of rugby union like that dip[edit] Rogers or have been banned for steriod and cocaine abuse like that tosser Sailor. Its not surprising that league is the home for the mentally challenged dimwits and bogans of the world. You fit both profiles to a tee you tool.

29 08 2007
tellit007

“primarily of aging stars and rugby league converts”

is the rest of your article just [edit] facts that have no basis other than aid your agenda?

30 08 2007
kip

Saying I am missing the point “not for the first time” does not make it so. As such i ignore it with the contempt it deserves. Getting backup from your fellow AB supporters again does not make what you say as being true. It just adds further contempt fore what is written

I reiterate that your article is flawed. ambiguous and slanted.

kip

31 08 2007
tellit007

exactly, the bloke is a typical kiwi, no idea.

31 08 2007
The Riddler

Whats the matter Tellit you tosspot. Are you in mourning about your idol coming out about his decade long drug abuse problem. And this guy has been right up the top of the ARU’s hit list for a few years now. Don’t know what the ARU sees in the trash it chases from league. Sailor..druggie, Rogers…too stupid to understand the game, Tiquiri…overpaid and constantly putting his foot in mouth and now Johns who was supposed to help them this world cup with his Xtasy addiction.

Face it Tellit, league is a disgrace of a sport, full of druggies and rapists, supported by the lowest form of white trash and bogans you can find in Australia. Go troll your league boards you white trash bogan.

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