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Blossoming Brumbies show up warring Tahs


Spiro Zavos

IT wasn't meant to be this way for the woeful Waratahs this season. When SANZAR scheduled tonight's Waratahs-Brumbies match it was intended to be a warm-up for the local side before the climax of the Australian conference, the Reds playing the Waratahs next week.

But against all the predictions at the beginning of the season, the Brumbies can virtually ensure they capture of the Australian conference if they win at ANZ Stadium.

The Waratahs board has confirmed Michael Foley's future as head coach. The lack of clarity and success in the coaching this season make it important for Foley (and the board) to understand why fundamental changes to the team's culture and the squad need to be made.

An excellent starting point for this change is to compare and then imitate what the new Brumbies coach, Jake White, has done this season with his inexperienced team (609 caps tonight in the starting side) with what Foley has done or not done with an experienced Waratahs squad (1068 caps).

The comparison does not make for pleasant reading if you are a Waratahs supporter and raises justified concerns about Foley as a head coach. White inherited a franchise that was losing on and off the field. It was infected with the player power virus. And it was obsessed with an entitlement factor. The cure? He allowed players like Rocky Elsom to leave. He promoted unlikely but gifted younger players like Jesse Mogg to bring some flair and enthusiasm back to the Brumbies play. Player power was defused by making a Waratahs discard, Ben Mowen, the captain.

They were given an aggressive, driving forward game by Laurie Fisher, the forwards coach, and flat-line back attack by Stephen Larkham, the backs coach. The precise, calm rugby mind of White informs everything the team does.

The result is that last season's no-hopers have scored the most points in the Australian conference (369) and have conceded the least (286).

Compare this with what has happened at the Waratahs this season. The side has got worse the longer the season has gone on. The entitlement factor was immediately brought into play when Foley was appointed and then reappointed coach without a real search for a better-qualified candidate. He has maintained and continues to justify the failed "win ugly" tactics of the Chris Hickey era despite the fact the Waratahs are turning away spectators and the side is losing matches it should be winning.

The team lacks mental and physical toughness. Two of the 10 matches lost by the Waratahs this season have been by one point. Four other matches have been lost for four points or fewer.

Nine Waratahs were members of a Wallabies squad that defeated Wales in all three recent Tests. Berrick Barnes explained: "The environment was good at the Wallabies." What does this suggest about the environment at the Waratahs?

On The Rugby Club on Thursday night, Foley suggested he has learnt from this season's failures. Unfortunately, he didn't explain what the lessons were. So we have to take him on his word. He did justify the selection of the journeyman Dean Mumm ahead of a Wallaby incumbent second-rower Sitaleki Timani on the grounds that Mumm calls the lineouts. This selection, like the Elsom transfer, has a familiar entitlement factor look to it. But to be fair to Foley, the rest of the team for tonight, especially the brand-new halves pairing, looks like a combination that might play attractive and winning rugby, if the coaches have introduced the appropriate systems.

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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