Bret Harris

Author's posts

Feb 22

Pivotal year lies ahead as Super Rugby seeks to emerge from troubled waters | Bret Harris

New format is no panacea for competition’s ills, but is keeping it alive until remedy is foundAfter a period of turbulence, the 2018 Super Rugby season will be arguably the most important in the 23-year history of the competition and what happens off t…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/feb/23/pivotal-year-lies-ahead-as-super-rugby-seeks-to-emerge-from-troubled-waters

Jan 10

Australian rugby union players negotiate pay rise in dark time for code

With declining ratings and attendances, Rugby Australia will use $5m generated by Force’s axing to pay for new conditionsDeparting Rugby Australia chief-executive Bill Pulver has made life a little easier for his successor Raelene Castle by negotiating…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/jan/11/australian-rugby-union-players-negotiate-pay-rise-in-dark-time-for-code

Dec 12

Raelene Castle’s fresh outlook well suited to enormity of task facing her | Bret Harris

Rugby Australia’s new chief executive will need to make good decisions on a regular basis. The margin for error is very slimHas Raelene Castle been given the worst hospital pass in Australian rugby history?With her appointment as chief executive of the…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/dec/12/raelene-castles-fresh-outlook-well-suited-to-enormity-of-task-facing-her

Nov 30

Wallabies in danger of falling behind as southern hemisphere influence widens | Bret Harris

As the north-south divide continues to close, life will only become tougher for Michael Cheika’s sideOne of the main talking points following the completion of the autumn internationals in Europe was the narrowing of the divide between the northern and…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/dec/01/wallabies-in-danger-of-falling-behind-as-southern-hemisphere-influence-widens

Nov 26

Wallabies’ mediocre year exposes flaws in character and style of play

The Australian side’s ill-discipline and persecution complex reveals an incapacity to adjust to adversity It would be easy for the Wallabies to dismiss their record loss to Scotland as an aberration, having played under-manned for 41 minutes, but they …

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/nov/27/wallabies-mediocre-year-exposes-flaws-in-character-and-style-of-play

Nov 19

Cheika’s referee rage a reputational and strategic risk for Wallabies

Australian rugby union has an image problem, and Cheika’s behaviour harms Wallabies’ World Cup 2019 chancesThe Wallabies are in danger of gaining a reputation as the ugly Australians. Wallabies coach Michael Cheika’s incandescent rage against the refer…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/nov/19/cheikas-referee-rage-a-reputational-and-strategic-risk-for-wallabies

Oct 30

The ticking time bomb the Wallabies face before the Rugby World Cup

How coach Michael Cheika manages the workload of his players will be crucial to their hopes of fielding a full-strength team in JapanIt’s a harsh reality for rugby union players, but the more you play the game, the greater the chances are of sustaining…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/31/the-ticking-time-bomb-the-wallabies-face-before-the-rugby-world-cup

Oct 22

Wallabies no longer just believe they can beat the All Blacks – they know it | Bret Harris

Australia’s first win against their trans-Tasman rivals in two years was an indicator of how far they have come in just a few monthsIt was perhaps appropriate the Wallabies upset the All Blacks at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, the very arena where Austra…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/23/wallabies-no-longer-just-believe-they-can-beat-the-all-blacks-they-know-it

Oct 16

Wallabies’ rugby league converts out to prove they are a risk worth taking | Bret Harris

As the great league experiment of the early 2000s showed, there can be rewards amid the risks with players from the 13-a-side codeCould the Wallabies be on the cusp of a rugby league-led recovery? Should Karmichael Hunt be selected alongside Israel Fol…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/17/wallabies-rugby-league-converts-out-to-prove-they-are-a-risk-worth-taking

Oct 11

All Blacks’ dominance threatens the health of international Test rugby | Bret Harris

Never in the history of sport has there been such a dominant team – and that could have serious ramifications for the gameNever in the history of sport has there been an international team as dominant as the All Blacks. The New Zealanders have lost onl…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/12/all-blacks-dominance-threatens-the-health-of-international-test-rugby

Oct 08

Wallabies finally have group of players to build World Cup squad around | Bret Harris

Australia have improved since this year’s first Bledisloe, just how much will be determined when they meet the All Blacks again on Saturday weekThe time for experimenting and blooding new players is over. With less than two years to go before the start…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/09/wallabies-finally-have-group-of-players-to-build-world-cup-squad-around

Oct 05

Time’s up for drawn rugby union games. We need extra-time in Tests | Bret Harris

Players and fans seek the gratification of winning, the elixir of sport. A draw is too often a waste of time and energyBack to back draws between the Wallabies and the Springboks in less than a month have strengthened the argument for extra time to be …

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/oct/05/times-up-for-drawn-rugby-union-games-we-need-extra-time-in-tests

Sep 29

Grand finals belong to the nation, not just Melbourne and Sydney | Bret Harris

History and tradition are wonderful things, but keeping the AFL and NRL deciders at the MCG and ANZ Stadium is inward-looking

They are the last vestiges of Victorian and NSW parochialism in Australian football and rugby league – despite 34 teams representing 13 cities in both competitions, the AFL and NRL grand finals are always played in Melbourne and Sydney.

Related: How a player can cope with the madness of an AFL grand final | Craig Little

Related: AFL grand final: the strength of a club’s story can be a deciding factor | Martin Flanagan

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/30/grand-finals-belong-to-the-nation-not-just-melbourne-and-sydney

Sep 17

Wallabies’ killer instinct eventually emerges in win over Pumas | Bret Harris

How Michael Cheika’s side will fare in Bloemfontein against South Africa depends on which of the team’s identities turns up on the day

Michael Cheika’s grin stretched from ear to ear. And who could blame him? The Wallabies had just beaten Argentina 45-20 in chilly Canberra on Saturday night, their first win in the Rugby Championship and their first victory against anyone since beating Italy in June.

Related: Late blitz seals comeback victory for Wallabies against Argentina

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/18/wallabies-killer-instinct-eventually-emerges-in-win-over-pumas

Sep 13

Wallabies’ tactical evolution is both encouraging and discouraging | Bret Harris

There has been more attacking intent at turnover ball but it defeats the purpose of having such a strategy if turnover ball cannot be secured in the first place

The Wallabies have finally arrived at the party only to find the music has stopped and the revellers have finished their drinks and moved on to the next event. Are Australia doomed to continually play catch-up?

There is a long-standing argument that the Wallabies, as well as Australia’s Super Rugby teams, should be more alive to attacking opportunities from turnover ball when defence is unstructured, just as New Zealand sides do.

Related: Draw leaves Wallabies in danger of Rugby Championship wooden spoon | Bret Harris

Related: Wallabies draw with Springboks in Western Force protest Test

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/14/wallabies-tactical-evolution-is-both-encouraging-and-discouraging

Sep 10

Draw leaves Wallabies in danger of Rugby Championship wooden spoon | Bret Harris

Michael Cheika’s team appear to be progressing and regressing simultaneously but one fundamental flaw in their game is becoming an alarming constant

There are still three full rounds to go and anything can happen, but the law of probability strongly suggests the Wallabies have already done their dash in this year’s Rugby Championship.

Saturday’s frustrating 23-all draw with South Africa in Perth means the All Blacks and Springboks are likely to compete for the title, leaving Australia and Argentina to battle it out for third and fourth.

Related: Wallabies draw with Springboks in Western Force protest Test

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/11/draw-leaves-wallabies-in-danger-of-rugby-championship-wooden-spoon