Ruck'n Maul
Reds' woes not confined to Cooper contract saga
Greg Growden
June 26, 2015
Ruck'n Maul: Sevens suits Quade Cooper's plan

The never ending Quade Cooper saga just keeps on giving, with the Queensland Reds cranky they can't keep hold of him, the Waratahs suddenly in the frame and then as suddenly out of it, the Olympics another serious option and Toulon assuming all the time that he will be with them next year. Despite the moans from the Queensland Rugby Union, it is not surprising that Cooper, like numerous other disenchanted Reds players, is looking elsewhere. High ranking Reds sources say that the inquiry into why the once strong team has completely lost its way under coach Richard Graham has turned 'into a bit of a farce.' It has even become difficult to find too many Reds players who want to play for Graham, while there are complaints about the QRU board unnecessarily stalling on several issues. Adding to the drama is one notable QRU official has become increasingly "aggressive and unapproachable"- which is not helping player relations. No wonder there are players scrambling to get out of Reds contracts. As one long time QRU observer said: "Several at the QRU have clearly lost the plot, or have suddenly believed they are far more important and powerful than they actually are."

Quade Cooper shakes hands with Toulon club owner Mourad Boudjellal in a Toulon jersey, Toulon, Top 14, April 24, 2015
Quade Cooper shakes hands with Toulon club owner Mourad Boudjellal in a Toulon jersey © RCT
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Brumbies not all sunshine and rainbows

While the Brumbies appear to be a relatively happy band of travellers, excelling in South Africa, all is not well. Brumbies snouts have told R&M that one of their key players is offside with several teammates over provocative private comments made after the Stormers victory. It appears the player while talking to a Stormers opponent made pointed comments about certain Brumbies and Wallabies team officials, recent ACT team preparations, and that he was weighing up his options. It appears the comments were passed on to one of the player's Brumbies teammates, prompting a pretty quiet trip back from Cape Town. There could have even been a bit of sulking.

Aussies Sevens and Under 20s lack direction, organisation

The Australian Sevens men's team hasn't exactly been enlightening this year, putting extra pressure on their new coach Geraint John, who replaced the highly respected Michael O'Connor, to actually show that he knows what he is doing. There has recently been complaints about the whole Sevens process from club level, with some player candidates apparently being ignored, due to wrong telephone details, and others beckoned to training being asked when they arrive: "What's your name again?" No wonder there is a distinct lack of confidence around the traps about the Australian Sevens, and numerous key players are shying away from being part of it. The Australian under-20s also failed to show much at the Junior World Cup in Italy, and serious questions about this team's organisation has again been raised. R&M went to the Australian Under 20s trial match against the Barbarians at Chatswood Oval some weeks ago and it was immediately apparent they had considerable problems up front, and were distinctly short of ideas. That remained a problem during the World Cup, (yes I got up to watch their games) with Australia eventually finishing an underwhelming fifth. Better direction is desperately required; otherwise the Australian Under 20s will remain among the also-rans.

Alan Jones on the money with Michael Hooper

Former Wallabies coach Alan Jones is right. Michael Hooper should be retained as Wallabies captain. Here's Jones's argument. And there's much, much more to come in this extensive interview. Stay tuned.

Michael Hooper an 'astonishing' captain
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Rebels deal had nothing to do with ARU hypocrite

The hypocrisy of some ARU officials is extraordinary. Many down in Melbourne have not forgotten the sentiments of one misguided ARU big-wig who some years ago was going on and on to anyone who would listen to him in Victoria about how there was no place for private investment in rugby, and that it was 'very, very important' the power remained with the traditional owners - the states. This same bigwig has recently been trying to take some of the credit for the Melbourne Rebels securing in the last week or so a private owner. This massive turnaround is embarrassing, and hopefully this ARU official will soon head elsewhere - because enough stupidity is enough.

Cup media threats shouldn't be taken lightly

A fascinating quote from News Corp group editorial director Campbell Reid over both Fairfax and News opting against obtaining accreditation for this year's World Cup tournament, due to strict broadcasting controls. Reid said: "I would like to say we've had open and frank conversations with the Australian rugby officials and the sport in Australia needs all the coverage it can possibly get.'' A veiled threat maybe? The ARU won't win that battle.

Quote of the week

Wackiest coaching quote of the week goes to the new Cheetahs coach Franco Smith over how he motivates his players. "It's easy. I just cocked a 9mm pistol in the change room."

Whispers of the week

- An Australian Super Rugby province is desperately trying to keep a Mad Monday incident quiet. It involves a Wannabe Wallaby, a lady of the night and a camera. Keep an eye out on social media.

- A mad scurry at T.G Millner Field last weekend when ASADA officials suddenly appeared to test several club players. A number of rugby heavies didn't know what to do.

- Some ARU officials don't know when to shut up. They were overheard during a city lunch talking about the suits they had just purchased for their World Cup trip. Alickadoos indeed.

- A well known Wallaby has suddenly been given the nickname "SHY" as in Sarah Hanson Young? Michael Cheika is meanwhile being called by some 'Eliot" as in 'Eliot Ness' as in 'The Untouchables.' And one very irritating Waratahs follower, who has a very fragile ego and can be quite toxic at after match functions, is known as 'Cruella.'

- Who is the Australian provincial coach who submitted a trip plan to gather information, but had it rejected by the board as he put in locations, but no appointments?

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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