Bret Harris

Author's details

Name: Bret Harris
Date registered: June 7, 2017
URL: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/super-rugby

Latest posts

  1. Wallabies’ killer instinct eventually emerges in win over Pumas | Bret Harris — September 17, 2017
  2. Wallabies’ tactical evolution is both encouraging and discouraging | Bret Harris — September 13, 2017
  3. Draw leaves Wallabies in danger of Rugby Championship wooden spoon | Bret Harris — September 10, 2017
  4. Matt Carroll: the man tasked with restructuring the Australian Olympic Committee | Bret Harris — September 9, 2017
  5. With tough times ahead, Bledisloe Cup loss restores hope for brave Wallabies — August 27, 2017

Author's posts listings

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

Aug 16

Tackle, tackle and then tackle again – how the Wallabies can upset the All Blacks

Despite Australia’s 0-26 win-loss record against New Zealand teams in Super Rugby this year, the Wallabies still have a chance in the opening Bledisloe Test

A new book about the 1969 rugby league grand final between Balmain and South Sydney should be required reading for the Wallabies as they head into the opening Bledisloe Cup Test against the All Blacks in Sydney on Saturday night.

In The Great Grand Final Heist, respected sports writer Ian Heads tells the story of Balmain’s improbable 11-2 win against hot favourites South Sydney in one of the greatest upsets in Australian sporting history.

Related: Michael Hooper named Wallabies captain with All Blacks on horizon

Related: Two former NRL stars among seven uncapped players in Wallabies squad

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/16/tackle-tackle-and-then-tackle-again-how-the-wallabies-can-upset-the-all-blacks

Aug 13

Australian Rugby Union errs in decision to cull Western Force

The ARU’s decision to cull the Force leaves Western Australia without a rugby union team, despite participation numbers being third behind NSW and QLD

IT was painful, messy and at times looked like a black comedy, but the ARU finally got its way last Friday and culled a Super Rugby team. But did the ARU cut the wrong team? Was the Western Force the team that had to go, or was it just the one that could be axed? And will the decision come back to haunt Australian rugby?

At the beginning of last year, the financially challenged Melbourne Rebels had been taken off the ARU’s hands by private owner Andrew Cox, while the Force had entered into an “alliance” with the ARU after selling its intellectual property for $800,000 as part of a financial rescue package.

Related: Remodelled franchise structure key to future health of Super Rugby | Bret Harris

Related: Women’s Rugby World Cup roundup: Ireland squeeze out Australia

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/14/australian-rugby-union-errs-in-decision-to-cull-western-force

Aug 01

Remodelled franchise structure key to future health of Super Rugby | Bret Harris

It is commercially insane for the ARU to be responsible for Super Rugby teams when it has little or no control over their operations

To paraphrase Shirley Valentine on marriage, the Super Rugby culling saga is also like the Middle East – there’s no solution. The ARU agreed to cut one of Australia’s five Super Rugby teams to help Sanzaar reduce the number of sides in the competition from 18 to 15 for next season, but also to try to improve the perilous state of Australian rugby.

Related: Western Force to get billionaire backing as arbitration with ARU begins

Related: Move an Australian Super Rugby club to Japan and solve ARU problems | Bret Harris

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/aug/02/remodelled-franchise-structure-key-to-future-health-of-super-rugby

Jul 26

Wallabies go commando with mental fortitude just as important as fitness | Bret Harris

Coach Michael Cheika’s gruelling Bledisloe Cup boot camps are required to get his players ready both physically and mentally for the challenge of the All Blacks

As sweat poured and lungs heaved during an intensive training session on a Sydney hillside last weekend, Michael Cheika’s intentions for his Wallabies could not have been more clear: improved fitness is a priority ahead of the Bledisloe Cup opener against the All Blacks on 19 August.

Players were even made to run up a hillside with their mouths taped shut (to ensure they only breathed through their noses) as Cheika and his conditioning staff seek to find any advantage over their trans-Tasman rivals. Further gruelling drills were seen in Newcastle early this week, and more await the squad in their camps in Cessnock and Penrith.

Related: Quade Cooper omitted from Wallabies squad – but Cheika leaves door open for return

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/27/wallabies-go-commando-with-mental-fortitude-just-as-important-as-fitness

Jul 20

Rugby union has an image problem in Indigenous Australia | Bret Harris

Indigenous Australia has provided champion players to the NRL and AFL, but it is time the ARU woke up from decades of neglecting Australia’s first peoples

It was wonderful to see Kurtley Beale dancing at the unveiling of the Wallabies’ Indigenous jersey in Redfern on Monday. Beale’s impromptu expression of pride in his Aboriginality was certainly an uplifting moment in an otherwise bleak year for Australian rugby.

But it also underlined the appalling lack of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in the Wallabies. Only 14 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players – Beale, Gary Ella, Glen Ella, Mark Ella, Anthony Fainga’a, Saia Fainga’a, Matt Hodgson, Lloyd McDermott, Cecil Ramalli, Wendell Sailor, Timana Tahu, Andrew Walker, Lloyd Walker and Jim Williams – have played Test rugby for Australia.

Related: Under-prepared Wallabies need match-hardened Brumbies for Bledisloe Cup

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/21/rugby-union-has-an-image-problem-in-indigenous-australia

Jul 16

Under-prepared Wallabies need match-hardened Brumbies for Bledisloe Cup

The lack of Australian success in Super Rugby leaves the Wallabies in danger of lacking match fitness for opener against the All Blacks.

With only one Australian team in the Super Rugby playoffs, the Wallabies are in real danger of being badly under-prepared when they face the All Blacks in the Bledisloe Cup opener in Sydney on August 19. The Brumbies are Australia’s sole representatives in the playoffs, while four of the five New Zealand teams have reached the top eight as well as three South African sides.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika lamented the lack of fitness in the Australian squad during the June Tests against Fiji, Scotland and Italy, but the situation is about to get a lot worse. When the Wallabies kick off their Bledisloe Cup/Rugby Championship campaign, the vast majority of the squad will not have played a game for over a month, which means the players will be severely lacking in match fitness. Cheika has organised three training camps for the Wallabies in Newcastle, Cessnock and Penrith and no doubt will work them hard, but there is no substitute for playing games. Even if Cheika holds inter-squad matches, it will not be the same as the real thing.

Related: Move an Australian Super Rugby club to Japan and solve ARU problems | Bret Harris

Related: It won’t happen any time soon but why shouldn’t the Lions tour Argentina? | Michael Aylwin

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/17/under-prepared-wallabies-need-match-hardened-brumbies-for-bledisloe-cup

Jul 13

Move an Australian Super Rugby club to Japan and solve ARU problems | Bret Harris

It’s a radical idea but one that at least deserves consideration with the Melbourne Rebels and Western Force still under the threat of extinction

With the axe hanging over the Melbourne Rebels and the Western Force, the ARU might be advised to follow South Africa’s example and relocate a Super Rugby team rather than cull it – and the obvious place is Japan.

South Africa have confirmed the Cheetahs and the Kings will not play in the contracted 15-team Super Rugby competition next year, but those two teams won’t disappear and are instead likely to move to the Pro 12 competition in Europe, which includes teams from Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales.

Related: Short term thinking led to Super Rugby struggles of Force and Rebels | Bret Harris

Related: State of the union: can Australian rugby reclaim the glory days? | Bret Harris

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/14/move-an-australian-super-rugby-club-to-japan-and-solve-aru-problems

Jul 06

Short term thinking led to Super Rugby struggles of Force and Rebels | Bret Harris

Where patience was a virtue in rival code expansion, Super Rugby’s Melbourne Rebels and Western Force have been victims of short term thinking

A few years ago I was waiting for a NSW Waratahs media conference to start at the Super Rugby team’s headquarters at Moore Park in Sydney. I started chatting with a television reporter who told me she was an AFL fan and supported Greater Western Sydney.

At this point in the Giants’ history they could not win a game and suffered some huge losses. I asked the journalist if it was frustrating to follow a team that rarely won. Her answer was enlightening.

Related: Steve Hansen hoping pressure on All Blacks is a challenge, not a burden | Andy Bull

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/07/super-rugby-struggles-of-force-and-rebels

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