#Scrum5 podcast: Vince Aso and midfield partners central to Hurricanes force

This pic was actually Twickenham's April Fool's joke, but it's not far off the current situation with the AAMI Park surface in Melbourne...

This pic was actually Twickenham’s April Fool’s joke, but it’s not far off the current situation with the AAMI Park surface in Melbourne…

ESPN Australia & NZ: It was great to be back on the old ESPNScrum podcast with Andy Withers and Sam Bruce for the first time in 2016, where among other topics, Sam and I got a bit argricultural about the situation down in Melbourne.

Also, the Hurricanes host the Chiefs in Super Rugby’s game of the round, and we examine their red-hot form. Plus the Brumbies and the Waratahs, the AAMI Park sandpit, and the roaring Lions in South Africa…

Where to now for the Wallabies?

So close: Michael Cheika had the Wallabies within touching distance of a Rugby World Cup. Image: ABC Grandstand

So close: Michael Cheika had the Wallabies within touching distance of a Rugby World Cup. Image: ABC Grandstand

ESPNscrum: The aftermath of the Wallabies Rugby World Cup Final defeat, and the ongoing envious peering toward our mates over the ditch, has given many an Australian rugby consumer cause for reflection and prediction this week.

And I don’t just mean reflection in the ‘what if the forward pass was called’ sense, but rather reflection in the sense that it really does feel like there’s good reason for optimism going forward.

I sat down for Scrum this week to ponder of a few of the big questions..

#Scrum5 podcast: All Blacks first, daylight second…

ESPNscrum.com: The All Blacks dominated the Rugby World Cup final from the opening whistle, smashing the gainline and executing basic skills, but they also certainly benefited from the majority of the 50-50 calls against “fatigued” rivals – particularly in “the championship minutes”. Andy Withers, Sam Bruce and I round up the talking points in the final Scrum5 podcast of the year..

#NRC2015: the standout names

Sydney Stars lock Matt Philip is a strong defender and ball-carrier, is already in the Waratahs set-up and looks destined for Super Rugby sooner rather than later. Already plays as if he’s been at this level for so many more years than just one. Image: ARU/Flitty Images

Sydney Stars lock Matt Philip is a strong defender and ball-carrier, is already in the Waratahs set-up and looks destined for Super Rugby sooner rather than later. Already plays as if he’s been at this level for so many more years than just one. Image: ARU/Flitty Images

ESPNscrum: It’s been a big week of National Rugby Championship content for me, and I was really pleased when ESPNscrum asked me, as a very keen and heavily involved NRC follower, to put something together on the competition’s standout players.

It was a difficult task, with so many quality players getting around in the NRC this year, but I have earmarked a few standout names – the stars, the names to keep an eye on, and some genuinely unpolished gems. Some you’ll know and won’t be surprised to read. Some will be a nice reminder, and some are names you should genuinely remember for the future..