KSA Shark ©

No-one safe from Reds’ guillotine

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :Super 14 on 10 Mar 2008 at 13:43
Tagged with :

Queensland coach Phil Mooney has been told not to worry about reputations or salaries and to make whatever changes he thinks are necessary to arrest the Reds’ slide to the bottom of the Super 14 ladder.

Mooney, in his first season as Reds coach, has been saddled with a squad not of his own choosing, inheriting the roster largely selected by Eddie Jones before his departure for Saracens, via South Africa’s World Cup campaign.

That’s a frustration many a football coach has experienced, but with the Reds’ season deteriorating fast, Queensland Rugby Union officials have been quick to reassure him he doesn’t need to feel obligated to select players just because the organisation paid a lot of money for them.

Wayne Smith of The Australian reports that it’s a welcome measure of support for a novice coach, although Mooney demonstrated after the embarrassing 43-11 loss to the Brumbies that he wasn’t afraid to make changes. The question now, after his side’s final-quarter capitulation to the Stormers on the weekend, is whether sending another tumbrel load to the guillotine before Saturday’s home match against the Bulls is going to encourage the remainder of the team or merely disrupt it.

It may be that a hamstring strain spares former Australia vice-captain Morgan Turinui the humiliation of being dropped after another performance that belonged more in an episode of Lost than in a Super 14 match.

The switch back to inside centre did little to disguise his discomfort in defence and it was evident from Mooney’s post-match comments that he felt the shortcomings in midfield had placed an unnecessary load on five-eighth Berrick Barnes.

“It’s fair to say Barnes is doing more tackling than he needs to be,” Mooney said.

“If other people matched his workrate in defence, we’d be conceding less tries.”

Generally, it wasn’t lack of effort that brought the Reds undone but a lack of skill and discipline. Having taken the lead when a 55th-minute Leroy Houston try pushed the score to 16-13, the Queenslanders promptly forgot the first law of defence and abandoned their straight line in favour of individually rushing the Stormers’ ball-carriers.

It was then like a scene out of a B-grade kung fu movie as the Stormers picked off their obliging assailants one by one, all the way to a 57th-minute try that restored a lead they never surrendered.

It was such a fundamental breach of defensive principles that it prompted calls for the Reds to send an SOS to former Wallabies defence coach John Muggleton, who indicated he would be happy to help if Mooney felt he was needed. But it is difficult to say what Muggleton could advise the Reds that the players don’t already know.

“It’s a trust thing,” second-rower James Horwill said.

“You’ve got to trust that the guy inside you will make his tackle and that the guy outside you will make his as well and then stick to your man. There’s nothing any coach can say.”

It’s not just in defence that the Reds are losing their shape. They have too many Keystone Cops moments in attack, when two-thirds of the side will swarm to the breakdown, leaving the backline ridiculously undermanned to carry on the raid.

On one such unstructured moment, Barnes had no option but to drop back into the pocket to kick his second drop goal, although the shame was that he did not stand a little deeper more often to give the Reds more room in which to attack. As it was, his flat, wide alignment made it easy for the Stormers to herd their ponderous opponents over the touchlines.

For the third successive week, the Reds’ backrow of Houston, John Roe and David Croft was completely outplayed, with Stormers flanker Luke Watson turning in a man-of-the-match performance that elevated talk of him captaining South Africa this season way above fanciful.

With Hugh McMeniman still a month away from recovering from his broken ankle, it is difficult to see what personnel changes could be made there that would improve on what the Reds already have. And sadly for Mooney, that is a problem that extends across the team.

At least the Reds can take one crumb of comfort into their meeting with the Bulls, the side that humiliated them 92-3 in Pretoria last year. With newcomer Dayna Edwards at tighthead, Queensland at last has a competitive scrum.


  • Maybe i should have posted this article this morning, a lot has happened since then.

  • Comment 1, posted at 10.03.08 13:45:36 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Roe has been removed as captain of the Reds with Cordingley being the new captain

  • Comment 2, posted at 10.03.08 13:47:54 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • From RedsRugby

    QR Reds Head Coach Phil Mooney has announced the appointment of scrumhalf Sam Cordingley as the new captain of the QR Reds.

    Cordingley succeeds John Roe, who has led the side for the past three seasons.

    Mooney and Roe announced the change to the team at Reds’ training on Monday night, after meeting earlier in the day to discuss the team’s options for getting their 2008 Investec Super 14 season back on course.

    Roe told the players the decision had been made with the best interests of the team in mind.

    “Phil and I discussed it this morning and agreed that a change of leadership was in the best interests of the team,” Roe said.

    “It has been a great honour to captain Queensland and I look forward to continuing to serve the team and Queensland Rugby in whatever capacity I can,” Roe said.

    Mooney congratulated Cordingley on his appointment and thanked Roe for his contribution as leader over three difficult years.

    “John Roe has held the side together through the tough times and carried a larger share of the burden than should reasonably be asked of any single player,” Mooney said.

    “We have taken this difficult decision now because we believe it can help re-focus John and the team in their pursuit of success in 2008,” Mooney said.


    John Roe took over the captaincy at a troubled time for the Reds in April 2005 when Elton Flatley was forced to retire and stand-in captain Nathan Sharpe announced he was leaving the side. John has captained Queensland in 36 of his 101 matches for the state in his career so far.

    He made his state debut in 1999 and has scored 100 points for Queensland and 80 points in Super Rugby. John was voted Reds Team Man of the Year in 2007.

    Sam Cordingley has played 53 matches for Queensland since making his state debut in 1999 after a season at the Brumbies. He moved to the northern hemisphere in 2003, playing three seasons in France and the UK before returning to Brisbane in 2006. He was a Wallaby tourist to the Rugby World Cup in France in 2007.

  • Comment 3, posted at 10.03.08 13:52:15 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • They shouldn’t mess with Roe’s position in the team though.

    I think he has had an awesome season thusfar.

  • Comment 4, posted at 10.03.08 14:02:42 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Does Cordingly have no Oz caps?

  • Comment 5, posted at 10.03.08 14:37:01 by provincejoulekkading Reply
  • PJLD

    One word – Gregan

  • Comment 6, posted at 10.03.08 14:39:23 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Gregan made 100 tests in 2004 already. 😯

    how many did he retire with?

    Any other scrummy in Aus must have had very little to NO chance of getting a cap.

  • Comment 7, posted at 10.03.08 14:41:53 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Most capped Aussie ever.

    139 – GM Gregan (1994-2007)

  • Comment 8, posted at 10.03.08 14:44:57 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • I always feel sorry for Roe every season when he has to make the same old losing speech… he gives blood for the team…

  • Comment 9, posted at 10.03.08 15:09:16 by bryce_in_oz Reply

  • I hope it was about taking the pressure off Roe, because he is captain courageous. To say that everyone else tackles the opposition worse than my 2 year old tackles calculus is Roe’s fault is a bit unfair, and for him to face the chop because of it.

    Team-mates need to step up and be counted. Too much booze and gambling?

  • Comment 10, posted at 10.03.08 15:16:16 by hellbent Reply

  • Let Cordingley take the heat.

    He is cute enough to take it.

  • Comment 11, posted at 10.03.08 15:22:09 by Dawn Reply

  • Jislaik Dawn, need some shoe polish to clean those rose coloured glasses?

  • Comment 12, posted at 10.03.08 15:33:43 by hellbent Reply


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