Bret Harris

Author's posts

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

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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

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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

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

Sep 09

Matt Carroll: the man tasked with restructuring the Australian Olympic Committee | Bret Harris

At a time when the AOC is facing an organisational overhaul in the wake of bullying claims, the new CEO says he is well positioned to action change

It did not take long for Matt Carroll to face his first major challenge as the new chief-executive of the Australian Olympic Committee: last month an independent review found the AOC’s workplace culture to be dysfunctional amid claims of bullying, favouritism and open hostility.

Related: AOC promises overhaul after review says it is ‘out of step’ with Olympic ideals

It’s absolutely true to say that his association with me hurt his prospects

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/10/matt-carroll-the-man-tasked-with-restructuring-the-australian-olympic-committee

Aug 27

With tough times ahead, Bledisloe Cup loss restores hope for brave Wallabies

Despite a much-improved showing, the Wallabies will not meet the All Blacks on home turf again until 2020 – 18 years after their last triumph

Was it the most important Test loss in the history of Australian men’s rugby? The Wallabies’ brave 35-29 loss to the All Blacks in the Bledisloe Cup-deciding Test in Dunedin on Saturday night regained the respect of their great Trans-Tasman rivals and restored the faith of long-suffering Australian rugby fans. Could you imagine the reaction if the Wallabies had capitulated the way they did in their record 54-34 loss to the All Blacks in Sydney the week before? It could have been terminal for Australian rugby. Instead, the Wallabies showed they can compete with the best team in the world, giving hope where previously there was only despair.

For all that, it was still a loss, yet another at the hands of the men in black in a record 15-year run of Bledisloe Cup dominance. Like the Golden Wallabies of the late 1990s and early 2000s, the All Blacks found a way to win when it looked like all was lost, while the Australians found new ways to lose.

Related: Toka Natua irrepressible as New Zealand end the dream for battling England

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/28/with-tough-times-ahead-bledisloe-cup-loss-restores-hope-for-brave-wallabies

Aug 26

Beauden Barrett seals last-gasp win for New Zealand over Australia in thriller

  • New Zealand 35-29 Australia
  • Barrett try in final minutes denies Wallabies

They told them they were dreaming. The New Zealand press screamed it in bold type during the week, what four million Kiwis thought of the Wallabies’ chances of causing an upset in the second Bledisloe Cup Test in Dunedin tonight.

Well, the Wallabies dared to dream. After their record 54-34 loss to the All Blacks in Sydney last Saturday night, they produced a stunning form reversal and were just minutes away from a breathtaking upset victory.

Related: All Blacks snatch Bledisloe win from Wallabies in dying moments – as it happened

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/26/beauden-barrett-seals-last-gasp-win-for-new-zealand-over-australia-in-thriller

Aug 23

Wallabies’ new defensive strategy will mean nothing if their players don’t tackle | Bret Harris

Australia will have to improve on the first Bledisloe Test against the All Blacks when they seemed to lose faith in their new system and trust in each other

New South Wales were preparing for the second game of the 1989 State of Origin series against Queensland when dual international Michael O’Connor asked coach Jack Gibson a question about the team’s defence.

“What are we doing? Sliding or up and in?” O’Connor asked innocently. Gibson went red in the face. “Sliding defence, !@#$ defence, I don’t care what you call it. You’ve just got to move up and tackle.”

Related: David Squires on … the Wallabies’ chances against the All Blacks

Related: Australian rugby looks dysfunctional and delusional – is there any hope left? | Bret Harris

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/24/wallabies-new-defensive-strategy-will-mean-nothing-if-their-players-dont-tackle

Aug 20

Australian rugby looks dysfunctional and delusional – is there any hope left? | Bret Harris

The Wallabies plumbed new depths in their record defeat to the All Blacks on Saturday night , but a new high performance model may offer a glimmer of hope

Quo vadis rugby union? Where on earth is the game going in this country? Just when you thought things could not get any worse, they did on Saturday night and the Wallabies’ record 54-34 loss to the All Blacks in Sydney may have been the last nail in the coffin of Australian rugby, which has been on life-support for at least two years.

Related: Ruthless All Blacks teach Wallabies lesson in Bledisloe Cup opener

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/21/australian-rugby-looks-dysfunctional-and-delusional-is-there-any-hope-left