Australia v England – roll on the ‘Cheika & Jones’ show

Behind all those brilliant Randwick players of the 1980s sat a crafty and clever hooker named Jones, and a brash and abrasive young no.8 named Cheika.

Behind all those brilliant Randwick players of the 1980s sat a crafty and clever hooker named Jones, and a brash and abrasive young no.8 named Cheika. Now they’ll face off as coaches of England and Australia…

My Australian column for June is out now on Rugby365, in which I give a little bit of background as to why the upcoming Wallabies-England series – and all the Michael Cheika-Eddie Jones shenanigans that comes with it – is what we’ve all been looking forward to…

As soon as the Wallabies beat England in the pool stage of last season’s World Cup, the first step in England not progressing in their own tournament, the return bout over three Tests on Australian soil this month became highly anticipated.

And when the Rugby Football Union did the right thing by us and replaced Stuart Lancaster with former Wallaby coach Eddie Jones, tickets for the three-Test series practically sold themselves.

Grab the popcorn for the Australian run to the playoffs

The Waratahs looked done for when beaten by the Brumbies in Sydney three weeks ago, but now look the Australian team most likely. Image: ABC Grandstand

In my second column for Cape Town-based rugby site Rugby365, I explain how things suddenly look rather different in the Australian conference…

With ten rounds of the 2016 Super Rugby season done, things have suddenly got a whole lot more interesting in the Australian conference.

I finished off last month’s column saying that anything can and will happen in Super Rugby, and that’s certainly been the case in the within our conference. Form has been fleeting, consistency hasn’t existed unless you include ‘inconsistency’, and where I suggested that the Brumbies probably loomed as the major – and possibly ‘only’ – source of Australian playoff hopes, well, even that claim now looks rather shaky.

Australia’s post-RWC hangover suddenly more sobering?

The Melbourne Rebels’ win over the Waratahs last weekend only further compounded the playoff hopes of the Australian Super Rugby teams in 2016. Image: ABC Grandstand

I’m really pleased to have joined Cape Town-based website Rugby365 as a columnist, which means I’m now keeping track of exchange rates for the Rand as well. My debut column for the guys ran last night, Australian time..

In the glow of the Rugby World Cup Final, and coming into the new and enlarged Super Rugby season, there was much anticipation about a strong Australian conference showing in 2016. And when the Brumbies put the Hurricanes to the sword in Round 1, that anticipation quickly evolved into outright expectation.

But six rounds into the new season, the RWC hangover has rather rapidly disappeared. There’s nothing more sobering that seeing playoff chances fading before your eyes, and that has been the reality for the Australian rugby fan in recent weeks…