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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    George Smith, goooooooone!

    Well ok, benched in favour of Pocock at least.

    Still it's quite a big/brave/bold move by Robbie - I'm not sure it's a wise one though:

    Rugby: Smith dropped to Aussie bench
    Updated 7:15PM Tuesday Oct 27, 2009
    By Mark Geenty

    Wallabies rugby coach Robbie Deans again cast aside reputation, with veteran loose forward George Smith feeling the selection axe as they desperately try to match the All Blacks' superior physicality in Tokyo on Saturday.

    Smith's benching tonight was one of four personnel changes from the starting 15 who received a 6-33 hiding from the All Blacks in Wellington last month.

    Injury-troubled No 8 Wycliff Palu takes over from Smith, with young David Pocock retaining the openside flanker's spot, while wingers Peter Hynes and Digby Ioane replace Drew Mitchell and Lachie Turner, and Ryan Cross returns to centre because of Stirling Mortlock's calf muscle tear.

    Teenage utility James O'Connor was benched to allow for Cross' return, as Adam Ashley-Cooper returns to fullback.

    Smith's slide down the pecking order was the most notable, with the 105-test veteran having led the Wallabies in Wellington.

    "We've been preparing for a number of weeks now and had a lot of discussions along the way. He was aware of what we were contemplating," Deans said.


    "He's a great man, he loves playing for the Wallabies and to help in any way he can. He has a really important role to play. He took (the news) very well, he's a class act. " Smith joins Phil Waugh and Al Baxter -- both cut from the tour squad altogether -- as senior figures to slip down the pecking order under Deans this year.


    Clearly a reshuffle was needed as the Wallabies eye a seventh straight defeat to the All Blacks at the National Stadium in Tokyo.

    New captain Rocky Elsom bluntly said missed scoring opportunities and an inferior effort at the breakdown were the clear must-improve areas.

    Zimbabwe born-and-raised Pocock will start his third consecutive test, with forwards coach Jim Williams rating him on a par with Springboks' scavenger Heinrich Brossouw who caused the All Blacks headaches this year.

    "Certainly his abilities around the ball and over the ball are similar to what Brossouw is like. His physicality, his ability to get to the breakdown quickly and assert himself there and do it repeatedly is something he showed during Super 14 and in his minimal time at test level."

    Elsom, the Wallabies' 76th test skipper, was seen as the long-term option as captain, Deans said, with Berrick Barnes stepping in as his backup.

    First five-eighth Matt Giteau and Barnes retained their respective 10 and 12 jerseys, but would likely interchange positions with Barnes looked at to provide some playmaking spark.

    "You've seen both players in both roles all year and you will see more of that on the weekend. There's nothing new in that."

    Deans said Hynes and Ioane were both "more confrontational" than the men they replaced as the Wallabies seek more scoring power out wide.

    The All Blacks have kept them tryless for over 200 minutes, taking in the second half in Auckland and subsequent tests in Sydney and Wellington.

    Ioane and bench prop Matt Dunning haven't featured for Australia since last year's spring tour of Europe.

    Australia: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Peter Hynes, Ryan Cross, Berrick Barnes, Digby Ioane, Matt Giteau, Will Genia; Wycliff Palu, David Pocock, Rocky Elsom (captain), Mark Chisholm, James Horwill, Ben Alexander, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson.
    Replacements: Stephen Moore, Matt Dunning, Dean Mumm, George Smith, Luke Burgess, Drew Mitchell, James O'Connor.
    - NZPA, AP

  2. #2
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    Australia needs to replace a few of their older stalwarts and I agree Smith had to go.

    They have quite clearly not been able to match the other 2 best sides in the world, particularly in the forwards and changes are needed.

    Having said that I feel the Aussie backs are the best set in the world but if your forwards are being done over in the centre of the pitch there is not a lot the backs can do.

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    I know we argue, but these current Australian backs aren't close to the best in the world. They certainly were throughout a lot of the previous 10 years up to Larkham and Gregan going.

    There are several who've been there long enough to now be considered experienced internationals but have frankly failed to date..... Barnes, Turner, Ashley Cooper. O'Conner is still raw, Mortlock is showing his age, and you have very little at 9. Thank God for Giteau.

    You can't keep losing games because they can't finish and then say they're the best. If they were the best they'd be proving it.

    I think your belief that they are still the best is a little grasping at straws.

  4. #4
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    Bob I know you have played Rugby and you also should know that no backline can function when the forwards are going backwards.

    They, the aussies were competitive in the last tri-nations series in most matches, in fact were leading nearly every game until their forwards lost their grip on the game and were over-powered.

    My opinion still stands and I can just imagine sticking the present aussie backline behind the springbok forwards. Awesome I reckon they would be.

    My opinion and it still looks like we beg to differ!

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    well....Deans seems to agree having dumped two of the backs and Mortlock one of the greats is injured again.

    The All Blacks have kept them tryless for over 200 minutes
    Says it all.

    The SA backs are better at 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 11. Giteau would look great behind an SA pack.

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    The two best in the world in the backs positions, done in about 50 seconds without much thought, but I can't see many Wallabies making that list

    9 Du Preez, Phillips
    10 Carter, Giteau
    11 none stand out in my short think.
    12 de Villiers, Roberts
    13 Jauzion O Driscoll
    14 Habana Clerc
    15 Mils, Steyn

  7. #7
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    There are several who've been there long enough to now be considered experienced internationals but have frankly failed to date..... Barnes, Turner, Ashley Cooper
    Can't agree with you on Barnes there Bobster, he's class in my opinion. Perhaps suffered early on from not really having a defined role but he does now and I think he'll finish his career as one of the greats.

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    Yeah, I was a bit hard on barnes but he has had times when he has flattered to deceive.

    But Ac, Mitchell and Turner.......would you class them as part of the best back line in the world?

  9. #9
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    You are so detached from Rugby reality it is fucking scary.

    You want to rate back lines who are trying to function behind beaten packs, (and as you Bob have so often and correctly so reminded me).

    I knew it was useless trying to discuss Rugby here and I don't even know why I bother.

  10. #10
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    Smith is getting older, the magic is starting to wane. Same with McCaw, not as good as 2006 - 7. Difference is McCaw still has leadership value, Smith as captain has never worked out well as far as I have seen. He seems to have no presence on the field like Mortlock does.

    As for the Wobblies backline... how may years are they gonna be 'so much potential'?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plan B
    As for the Wobblies backline... how may years are they gonna be 'so much potential'?
    Lets get them a decent pack of forwards to play behind.

    FFS even Bob claimed they were the best back line a few years ago and we still got beaten by a shit Pommy side and basically because our forwards could not compete.

    Is there any fooker around here that understands team Rugby?

  12. #12
    Cenosillicaphobiac
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    Rugby, team sport that includes individual brilliance.

    Have you not seen games where a member of the backline sidesteps 3-4 defenders, or a perfectly timed chip & recover, or an intercept that changes the whole game?

    Larkham WC many moons ago, Ricky Januarie last year, Christian Cullen every time he touched the ball.

  13. #13
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    The game today, and I blame Sir Clive Hollywood (bless Mam for giving him a knighthood ) ended up a shitfight of rucks and mauls which slowed the game down to a forward battle which in most major test matches left the backs without any clean quick ball.

    I don't know about you Plan B but I have not seen any great flowing tries in a major test match for a long time and really it pisses me off.

    Bump and grind doesn't do it for me!

  14. #14
    Cenosillicaphobiac
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    Improvements in defensive lines are to blame for that. Supposedly the 'league defense' is the culprit. There was plenty of fast moving flowing movements in the S14 under the ELVs. But the new rules were not picked up. Upset the traditionalists too much, and played to the strengths of the SH sides. Prolly a good thing they didn't get implemented, wouldn't want to see the NH slide further.


  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plan B
    wouldn't want to see the NH slide further.
    Their fucked and even the aussies could kick their arses!

    Plus you even get wingers who can tackle well now. What the fvck is that all about?

  16. #16
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    You gotta love LT.

    You're right, you've convinced me, the Aussies have the best back line in the world........5555555555555555.

    Oh and Woodward is to blame for everything........even funnier.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobcock
    Oh and Woodward is to blame for everything
    And I suppose your gunna say he deserved his fooking knighthood 555555555555.

    Gotta luv you NH guys!

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobcock View Post
    But Ac, Mitchell and Turner.......would you class them as part of the best back line in the world?
    Of the three AC's the best in my opinion, Turner has shown some promise, Mitchell I'm less sure about.

    And to answer the question, no not really. Most certainly not the last few seasons at any rate.

  19. #19
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    LT, I didn't give him a knighthood so why on eart should I feel any reason to justify it nor support it.

    I do however feel his team as a unit deserved the RWC victory they got.

    And to answer the question, no not really. Most certainly not the last few seasons at any rate.
    Swoon, a direct answer to a question.....amazing!

    Not a bad set of backs (though the clock is ticking for a few in more ways than one) but best in the world??.... at least they haven't slipped behind the English..... YET.

  20. #20
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    More bad news for the Wobblies...

    Berrick Barnes is unlikely to know before the weekend whether he will miss the Wallabies' grand slam tour of the UK and Ireland after being ruled out of Saturday's Bledisloe Cup Test against the All Blacks with an ankle injury.
    In a massive blow to Australia's chances of avoiding their first 4-0 series whitewash against New Zealand since 1962, Barnes was rushed to hospital in Tokyo on Thursday for emergency scans after hearing a crack when he rolled his left ankle at training.
    Initial fears were allayed when x-rays later cleared the newly-appointed Wallabies vice-captain of a fracture.
    But the Australian team's medical staff say Barnes probably won't know the full extent of his injury until the swelling subsides in the next 24-48 hours.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plan B View Post
    Smith is getting older, the magic is starting to wane. Same with McCaw, not as good as 2006 - 7. Difference is McCaw still has leadership value, Smith as captain has never worked out well as far as I have seen. He seems to have no presence on the field like Mortlock does.

    As for the Wobblies backline... how may years are they gonna be 'so much potential'?
    He played pretty bloody well last night!

  22. #22
    Cenosillicaphobiac
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    He did indeed. Except for one handling error when a breakthrough was begging he was in amongst it the whole game.

    Wasn't a great showcase for the Japanese WC campaign. And bloody Mark Lawerence giving Aus that try.... I had scoreline picked at 32 - 12 and would've picked up $300 worth of restaurant vouchers if it wasn't for that koont.

  23. #23
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    George Smith, goooooooone! No, Really This Time... Retires!

    Where the hell is the shocked-face emoticon!?!?

    Rugby: Smith retires from international rugby


    4:20 PM Friday Feb 5, 2010
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    George Smith announces his retirement from international rugby at the ARU Headquarters. Photo / Getty Images

    Flanker George Smith, one of only four Australians to reach the 100-test milestone, announced his retirement from international rugby on Friday.
    The 110-test veteran recently approached Australian Rugby Union and ACT Brumbies officials to discuss his future and felt after 10 seasons in the Australia jumper he wanted to explore other options.

    He will be released from his ARU and Brumbies contract at the end of the coming Super 14, a year earlier than expected, and plans to play overseas. It means he will miss the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

    The 29-year-old Smith made his test debut with a man-of-the-match performance against France in Paris in 2000. He has played 120 Super matches.
    "George has made an enormous contribution to Australian rugby for more than a decade," ARU chief executive John O'Neill said.

    "Obviously we wanted George to stay and continue through to his third Rugby World Cup. We had lengthy discussions. However, when he made it clear that his passion for international rugby was not the driving force it once was, we agreed there were suitable grounds for an early release given his long and continuous service to the game in this country."


    Smith said it was a difficult decision to leave Australian rugby at the end of May, having started with the Brumbies in 1999 and the Wallabies a season later."Throughout these 10 years I have always held a deep respect and honor for the Wallabies jersey," Smith said.

    "The decision to retire from test rugby has been a very difficult one for me and one that I have made after much consideration and soul-searching in recent months.

    "Although I believe that I could play competitive rugby at the highest level and contribute to the Wallabies for many years to come I know in my heart that this is the right time to step aside."

    Smith said he will seek to play overseas when his Super 14 contract expires.
    "It is my intention to explore the opportunities to play for an international club at the conclusion of the 2010 Super 14 season," Smith said. "The decision as to where I will continue my rugby career will be made with regards to the best interests of my family and I have no definite plans in this regard at this time."
    Australia coach Robbie Deans said Smith was a rare backrow talent with leadership abilities.

    "You only have to look at the statistics of his career to realize what a special player George is, and to appreciate the enormity of his contribution to Australian rugby," Deans said.

    Smith has scored nine tries in his 110 tests and 15 tries in Super rugby.
    - AP

  24. #24
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    George Smith ends Wallabies careerRugby Union - News - Yahoo!Xtra Sport

    Australia's most-capped Test forward George Smith says he's retiring from international rugby to spend more time with his family.
    The flanker, who represented the Wallabies 110 times at Test level, announced on Friday he was drawing the curtain on one of Australian rugby's most successful careers.
    The 29-year-old will now play out this year's Super 14 competition with the Brumbies before seeking a lucrative deal overseas, where he says he and his family can spend some "quality time" together experiencing a new culture.
    The two-time John Eales Medallist, the most capped openside forward in Test history, said he'd been contemplating stepping away from the game even before signing a three-year deal with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) last year.
    "The decision to retire from Test rugby has been a very difficult one for me and one that I've made after much consideration and soul-searching over months," Smith said.
    "Although I believe I could play competitive rugby at the highest level for many years to come, in recent times I believe the Wallabies have created the right balance between providing opportunity for young talent within Australian rugby and also having the knowledge and experience of senior players."
    Making the decision somewhat easier for Smith has been the emergence of Western Force star David Pocock in the Wallabies set-up.
    Smith shared the No.7 jersey with the Zimbabwe-born 21-year-old throughout last year's northern hemisphere tour, and he felt he left the national team with a bright future going into next year's World Cup.
    "Under Robbie Deans the Wallaby player group has committed themselves and worked incredibly hard and I believe that the fruits of their hard work will be seen in the months and years ahead," he said.
    "With Rocky (Elsom), Robbie and the current player group, I believe that the Wallaby brand and culture is in the best of hands.
    "I believe now is the time to give back to my family, to be able to spend more quality time with my wife and young children."
    A World Cup finalist with the Wallabies in 2003, Smith said he has many great memories from his international career with the 2001 series victory over the British and Irish Lions and Bledisloe Cup wins over New Zealand particular highlights.
    Plaudits immediately began to flow for Smith with ARU chief executive John O'Neill and Deans among the first to congratulate the player.
    "One of the finest players to pull on a Wallaby jersey has decided to call it a day on his Test career," O'Neill said.
    "His contribution to the game in this country has been extraordinary ... the ARU did not want him to leave."
    Deans, who coached All Blacks' skipper and world class backrower Richie McCaw during his time with Canterbury, said Smith deserved to be remembered as Australia's best ever openside flanker.
    He said playing over 100 Tests and 120 Super rugby matches before his 30th birthday showed Smith's remarkable consistency.
    "You have to say he's the best that's ever pulled on a Wallabies jersey, I think, simply through the weight of numbers," Deans said.
    "Crikey, it's a tough position. You look at that number of games at Super rugby as well as Test level, plus the travel - it's the toughest competition in the world when you consider the travel - he's the greatest."
    Smith said winning this year's Super 14 title with the Brumbies would be the ideal way to end his time in Australia.
    "The Brumbies is an organisation that has shaped so much of my rugby career and I could think of no more appropriate way to repay them than with a title," he said.
    He said he had no plans as yet on his future club overseas, but French side Toulon could be high on the list after they apparently tried to sign Smith at the end of 2008.

  25. #25
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    I just posted this in another thread, thought about bumping this one.

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