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Tate excited by 10 ‘headache’, how the Wallabies reacted to RA bombshell, TMO laws tweaked

Wallabies halfback Tate McDermott says he’s as intrigued as everyone to see how Dave Rennie handles the No.10 log jam against England.

The Wallabies have the experienced options of Quade Cooper and James O’Connor, along with Brumbies young gun Noah Lolesio, in the 35-man squad for the three Tests, and JOC said he would consider a role switch to fullback if Rennie wanted him to don the No.15 jersey.

“I’m really excited to see how that battle pans out,” McDermott said on Friday. “Quade did really well last year and so did Noah in the French series and then James at the end of the year.

“They’re all very different players and I’ve always enjoyed playing with each and every one of them. I’m excited to see where that heads.

“In terms of James at 15, of course he’s an option, but you’ve got to remember there’s some pretty good fullbacks here as well. I’ll leave that to Rens and [Scott Wisemantel]. It will be a bit of a headache for them and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens there.”

McDermott meanwhile said there was some chatter in the group about the big news story of the week – the threat by Rugby Australia to pull out of a Super Rugby competition with New Zealand sides from 2024.

“It’s pretty much news to all our ears. There’s obviously a bit of background chat about it, but by no means are we having conversations over the dinner table about it,” McDermott said.

“It’s still very early and not our call. Both comps have their advantages and disadvantages. To be honest I really enjoyed this year and I also enjoyed last year playing in front of 40,000 people at Suncorp in Super Rugby AU.

“It’s not my decision. We get paid to play rugby.”

(Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images for Rugby Australia)

Wallabies new boy Nick Frost, meanwhile, outlined how he reached the decision to walk away from a Japan rugby contract after being told he was a Test candidate.

“It was a pretty done deal,” Frost said. “There was a lot in the works to get to that stage. It was a big thing that decision. There were a lot of phone calls, but at the end of the day they were a bit disappointed but supportive of what I wanted to do.”

Frost said Dan McKellar had been supportive through the process.

“I have always been,” Frost said. “Even at the time when I told him about my decision to go overseas he was obviously disappointed but after a few games he asked for reconsidering and that’s how we got the ball rolling.

“It went from there and week by week it slowly got bigger and bigger and we just ended up staying.”

Mehrtens on the shifts made in Aussie teams this season

All Blacks great Andrew Mehrtens has given fellow Kiwi Dave Rennie credit for in helping balance Australian rugby, based on the evidence of the Super Rugby Pacific season.

The Stan Sport pundit told stuff.co.nz that he’s noticed the Australian game is “better balanced” than it has been in the past.

“They’ve always had a pretty organized defense… they’ve been able to frustrate or limit New Zealand’s attack a lot better than they did last year, but they’ve brought a lot better attack themselves, which has meant the New Zealand teams have been a bit more on edge this season against them,” Mehrtens told Stuff.

“I think broadly across the Australian teams they have kicked less, and better, had a lot fewer aimless kicks.

“They would get the ball from a turnover and just wouldn’t know how to settle into a pattern, so they just booted it away, which is a gilt-edged invitation to New Zealand teams to have a crack.”

Mehrtens said Rennie’s influence is “coming to the fore” and he feels there is a general loosening up from a more structured style, set by the Brumbies in their heyday.

“I think Australian rugby, as a general rule in the last 10 or 15 years has unfortunately been punctuated by a lot of whiteboard rugby – color by numbers sort of thing, where they want to be highly, highly structured,” Mehrtens said.

“Firstly, that makes things a little more predictable and easier to defend against that sort of attack – highly organized and preordained – but it also doesn’t leave a lot of room for spontaneity from the players, and spark, and excitement.

“I think there is an awareness in Australian rugby that they have to move away from that, that it’s putting a lot of eggs in baskets, and you have to move to a game where, within a framework, you have to make decisions on the run and you’ve got to adapt to how things are occurring and evolving, and what’s happening in front of you.”

‘Nice honor for Mark’

Mark Ella’s brother Glen, a four-time Wallaby, says the renaming of the Cook Cup made sense and was a nice honor for his brother Mark Ella to be feted in the renaming.

The Herald reported that Australia and England had decided to rename the Cook Cup, which was named after Captain Cook, the English explorer.

“It’s a nice honor for Mark, obviously. It is a pretty big series. They are two big rugby nations,” Glen Ella told the Herald.

“The majority of Indigenous people wouldn’t want that (Cook’s name) on the Cup. I don’t have a problem, personally, it doesn’t really worry me. But to do the right thing by Aboriginal people, yeah, I understand why they’ve made that call.

“There is still a lot of angst about that among the elders, so they’re doing the right thing and making an effort to change the name to something more to do with rugby, and to not carry those connotations.”

The new trophy will be named the Ella-Mobbs trophy, celebrating Ella and former English player Edgar Mobbs who was killed in action in 1917.

Not everyone is happy with the change and the New Zealand Herald’s headline screamed “Captain Cook cancelled”.

TMO rules tweaked

Television Match Officials will be given more influence under World Rugby changes being trialled from the start of next month.

World Rugby have announced a handful of amendments they hope will “promote quicker, accurate decision-making” and reduce stoppages.

The TMO will be able to highlight an infringement in the build-up to a try even after a conversion attempt has been made, providing the footage is available before the restart.

There is also a formal adoption of the TMO examining instances of foul play without stopping play. The areas that the TMO is able to consider while play continues remains the same – incidents relating to the act of scoring, dangerous play, knock-ons or forward passes and all touch and touch-in-goal decisions.

Referees are also now able to refer all acts of foul play, other than dangerous play at a scrum, to the TMO. Previously only specific instances of foul play were allowed, but the updated protocol now formally includes the likes of cynical infringements, intentional knock-ons and repeated infringements.

The other major change is that all offsides in the two phases leading up to the scoring of a try are now included in the TMO protocol and can be reviewed.

World Rugby said in a statement: “Starting for all competitions and stand-alone matches taking place after July 1, the TMO will be given greater scope, supporting better, quicker decisions.

“Formal adoption of the current practice of ‘on the run’ decision-making, where the TMO acts as a ‘sweeper’ on behalf of the referee to examine the following scenarios without stopping play:

“Law 8 Scoring: Incidents relating to whether a player was in touch or touch-in-goal;
Law 9: Dangerous play, specific to where any dangerous play can be immediately, determined as a ‘play on’ or a penalty kick only offence;
Law 11: Knock-on or throw forward;
Law 18.2-18.8: All touch/touch-in-goal decisions, including whether a ball was in touch or not, and who took it into touch.

“In addition, in the event of a try, should the footage relating to an infringement only be made available by the broadcaster after the conversion has taken place, but before the restart, then the referee and TMO may highlight the infringement and deal with it. accordingly.

“The revised protocol has been designed with input from the world’s top match officials, broadcasters and law experts, underpinning a collaborative and solution-focused approach.”

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Our mission is to help the sport to be all it can be in terms of safety and spectacle, and this TMO revision supports that mission.

“Not only will this update help the elite game better identify and deal with any foul play, it will assist in the clear and obvious being addressed without stopping the game, potentially reducing the number of unnecessary and often lengthy stoppages which impacts the spectacle for all concerned.

“Combined with the trial adjustment to the scope of water carriers ( you can read about those here ), this is a common-sense development that can aid the spectacle by reducing stoppages, and I would like to thank the match officials for their full and expert input.

“Many of these updates are a question of formalizing practices that were already taking place in any event, so fans and viewers alike will already be accustomed to them in most cases. We must now all work together to ensure consistency and accuracy of application of this protocol at all levels where the TMO operates.”

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