Category Archives: WalesOnline

Journalism or Churnalism? You decide…

WalesOnline journalist Anthony Woolford, when he’s not producing an array of clickbait titles such as ’20 unbelievable moments that made your jaw drop’, ’18 jokes that will make you a legend with your mates down the pub’ or ‘the most bizarre debut stories you’ll ever read’, often appears to be producing output that strongly resembles work from various other journalists and media outlets …

For example take a look at what Paul Rees wrote for The Observer last weekend:

Jérôme Garcès, as he did in the Six Nations at the Millennium Stadium – when the home side took exception after an unexpected defeat to some of his law interpretations, especially at the scrum.

Now compare it to what Woolford published a day later on WalesOnline.

Garces took control of England’s 21-16 Six Nations Championship victory at the Millennium Stadium earlier this year when Wales took exception after an unexpected defeat to some of his law interpretations, especially at the scrum.

Another paragraph from Rees’ work:

And England’s recent record under coach Lancaster when Garces has been officiating is five victories in six, the exception being the third Test defeat in New Zealand last year. Like Poite, he is hard on props who do not stay straight after the front-rows engage and the pair have controlled three of England’s last six Tests.

And here’s what was published on WalesOnline a day later:

And England’s recent record under coach Lancaster when Garces has been officiating is five victories in six, the exception being the third Test defeat in New Zealand last year. Like Poite, he is hard on props who do not stay straight after the front-rows engage and the pair have controlled three of England’s last six Tests.

…some more of Rees’ work:

Corbisiero has not started a Test for England since the victory over New Zealand in December 2012. His only cap since then came against Argentina from the bench the following year as a succession of injuries ruled him out. When he finally had an extended run of matches for Northampton last season, he was unable to force his way ahead of Joe Marler or Mako Vunipola.“That is a tough question,” he says when asked if he felt the fault referees kept finding with his scrummaging technique cost him caps. “You will have to ask it to the England coaches. I focus on what I can control. It has been a frustrating few years for me but I am now fit and healthy. I feel I can get back to the form I showed with the Lions. I am back on course after some setbacks and I am in a position to give myself a shot at what I want to achieve and hit the heights.”

…WalesOnline a day later:

Corbisiero has not started a Test for England since the victory over New Zealand in December 2012.His only cap since then came against Argentina from the bench the following year as a succession of injuries ruled him out.

When he finally had an extended run of matches for Northampton last season, he was unable to force his way ahead of Joe Marler or Mako Vunipola.

“That is a tough question,” he says when asked if he felt the fault referees kept finding with his scrummaging technique cost him caps.

“You will have to ask it to the England coaches. I focus on what I can control. It has been a frustrating few years for me but I am now fit and healthy. I feel I can get back to the form I showed with the Lions. I am back on course after some setbacks and I am in a position to give myself a shot at what I want to achieve and hit the heights.”

That is not an isolated occurrence from Woolford. On the same day, Chris Foy wrote this for the Daily Mail:

They will be desperate to have Nadolo fit and firing for that game, so he is at full throttle going into the tournament opener against the host nation on September 18 at Twickenham.On the evidence of Saturday’s performance, Fiji can pose a threat to England and the other leading teams in Pool One; Wales and Australia, but they have work to do in key areas.

Leicester centre Vereniki Goneva presented a lethal threat to the Maori with his powerful, incisive running in midfield and the home side’s off-loading game – featuring countless basketball-style chest and over-head passes – can open up resolute defences.

They are also blessed with a multitude of athletic, dexterous and powerful forwards.

But there are shortcomings at this stage. The scrum frequently came under pressure and Fiji conceded far too many turn-overs.

In addition, their defence was fragile at times, with the Ospreys’ Josh Matavesi, operating at fly-half, repeatedly exposed.

Later this appeared under Woolford’s name on WalesOnline:

They will be desperate to have Nadolo fit for that game going into the tournament opener against England on September 18 at Twickenham.The Fijians don’t play Wales until Thursday, October 1, and judging by Saturday’s performance they have work to do in key areas to pose a big threat.

Leicester centre Vereniki Goneva was a huge threat to the Maori with his powerful, incisive running in midfield but their scrum frequently came under pressure and Fiji conceded far too many turn-overs.

In addition, their defence was fragile at times, with the Ospreys’ midfield star Josh Matavesi, operating at fly-half, repeatedly exposed.

Spot any similarities?

Some of Woolford’s recent work has also borne stunning similarities to articles appearing, slightly earlier, in the Australian press. Have a looks at this from Bret Harris in The Australian:

There has been speculation about Ledesma joining the Wallabies coaching staff ever since he became the Waratahs set-piece coach this year.Cheika had approached Western Force coach Michael Foley and former Brumbies director of coaching Laurie Fisher to join the Wallabies as forwards coach.

English club Gloucester refused to release Fisher to the Wallabies, while it is understood Foley declined the invitation so he could concentrate on the Force. But it seems there was always room for a specialist scrum coach such as Ledesma at the Wallabies.

It is understood Ledesma will focus on the scrum and Cheika will coach other aspects of the forward play, with Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham (attack) and Waratahs defence coach Nathan Grey (defence) rounding out a formidable unit.

A four-time World Cup player, Ledesma played 84 Tests for Argentina and was part of the Pumas’ legendary bajada in the scrum. Ledesma was forwards coach of Stade Francais when Cheika was head coach of the Paris team from 2010 to 2012.

Cheika, who replaced Ewen McKenzie as Wallabies coach last October, decided to place more emphasis on the scrum after the set-piece was humiliated by England and Wales on the tour of Europe at the end of the year. Significantly, the Wallabies play both England and Wales in the “pool of death” at the World Cup.

Cheika initially described Ledesma as an “observer” when he first appeared at Waratahs training, but it was clear he was coaching the scrum.

Waratahs forwards have publicly acknowledged Ledesma’s role in improving NSW’s scrum this year to the point where it has become a weapon for the defending Super Rugby champions.

With seven of the Waratahs’ starting forward pack expected to be involved in the World Cup squad it certainly makes sense for Ledesma to continue his work on the scrum at Test level.

Let’s have a look at the WalesOnline article by Woolford:

There had been speculation about Ledesma joining the Wallabies coaching staff ever since he became the Waratahs set-piece guru and with Cheika less than impressed with the scrummaging performances last autumn of Australia.Cheika had approached Western Force coach Michael Foley and former Brumbies director of coaching Laurie Fisher to join the Wallabies as forwards coach.

Gloucester refused to release Fisher to the Wallabies, while it is understood Foley declined the invitation so he could concentrate on the Force.

But it seems there was always room for a specialist scrum coach such as Ledesma at the Wallabies and Cheika is poised to reveal his appointment this week alongside a 35-strong squad to meet up in Queensland next weekend.

It is understood Ledesma will focus on the scrum and Cheika will coach other aspects of the forward play, with Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham (attack) and Waratahs defence coach Nathan Grey (defence) completing a formidable unit.

A four-time World Cup player, Ledesma was forwards coach of Stade Francais when Cheika was head coach of the Paris team from 2010 to 2012.

Cheika, who replaced Ewen McKenzie as Wallabies coach last October, decided to place more emphasis on the scrum after the set-piece was humiliated by England and Wales on the tour of Europe at the end of the year when they conceded a penalty try at the Millennium Stadium after a series of collapsed set-pieces.

The Waratahs forwards have publicly acknowledged Ledesma’s role in improving NSW’s scrum this year to the point where it has become a weapon for the defending Super Rugby champions before their semi-final exit this weekend.

With seven of the Waratahs’ starting forward pack expected to be involved in the World Cup, Ledesma is the natural choice to continue his work on the scrum at Test level.

Then there’s this article from the Australian Daily Telegraph by Jamie Pandaram:

Australia will name a 35-man Rugby Championship squad later this week including former playmaker Matt Giteau, while Waratahs scrum coach Mario Ledesma will be formally announced as the Wallabies’ set-piece coach.While the Hurricanes and Highlanders will play in the Super Rugby final, both teams boasting extraordinary new talent that will bolster the All Blacks, Ashley-Cooper said that would not impact Australia’s chances in the Bledisloe Cup and beyond to the World Cup.

The 35-man Wallabies squad will gather in Queensland on Sunday.

Ashley-Cooper, who was part of the premiership-winning Tahs side last year but later failed to reclaim the Bledisloe Cup for the Wallabies, said success in Super Rugby does not translate to the international arena.

Meanwhile, Wallabies superstar Israel Folau is expected to announce a new three-year deal with the ARU before the first Rugby Championship Test against South Africa on July 18.

Folau has not yet signed the contract, but is expected to do so within the next fortnight.

Now compare it to this one by Woolford in WalesOnline :

While the Hurricanes and Highlanders will play in the Super Rugby final, both teams boasting extraordinary new talent that will bolster the All Blacks, Ashley-Cooper said that would not impact Australia’s chances in the Bledisloe Cup and beyond to the World Cup.Australia will name a 35-man Rugby Championship squad later this week, expected to include former playmaker Matt Giteau, while Waratahs scrum coach Mario Ledesma, the former Argentina Test hooker, will be formally announced as the Wallabies’ set-piece chief ahead of the squad assembling in Queensland next weekend.

And for Ashley-Cooper, who was part of the Super 15-winning Waratahs side last year but later failed to reclaim the Bledisloe Cup for the Wallabies, said success in Super Rugby does not translate to the international arena.

Meanwhile, Wallabies superstar Israel Folau is expected to announce a new three-year deal with the ARU before the first Rugby Championship Test against South Africa on July 18.

Folau has not yet signed the contract, but is expected to do so within the next fortnight.

We could go on and on. This is from the BBC:

Wales has seen more than a dozen top-flight players leaving the regions to play for clubs in France and England, including Leigh Halfpenny,Jamie Roberts, Richard Hibbard and Jonathan Davies.The Welsh Rugby Union introduced the so-called “Gatland’s Law” which favours Wales-based players for international selection as part of their latest financial deal with the four regions in 2014.

However, five of head coach Warren Gatland’s team that started the last match of the 2015 Six Nations against Italy were based in either France or England.

WRU chief executive Roger Lewis says that policy allows Gatland flexibility when it comes to selecting players based outside Wales for Tests.

“That’s the card that Warren has got in his back pocket,” said Lewis.

“If he can come up with an appropriate argument for picking appropriate players at the appropriate time, then so be it. And we’d all support that.”

By contrast, Toulon’s impressive back-row Steffon Armitage was not considered for selection by England coach Stuart Lancaster.
Young says the detrimental impact on the domestic game of losing the big stars has been obvious in Wales.

This is what Woolford published on WalesOnline :

Wales has seen more than a dozen top-flight players leaving the regions to play for clubs in France and England, including some marquee names like Jamie Roberts, Leigh Halfpenny, Jonathan Davies, Richard Hibbard and George North.The Welsh Rugby Union introduced the so-called “Gatland’s Law”, which favours Wales-based players for international selection as part of their latest financial deal with the four regions in 2014.

However, five of head coach Warren Gatland’s team that started the last match of the 2015 Six Nations against Italy were based in either France or England.

WRU chief executive Roger Lewis says that policy allows Gatland flexibility when it comes to selecting players based outside Wales for Tests.

“That’s the card that Warren has got in his back pocket,” said Lewis.

“If he can come up with an appropriate argument for picking appropriate players at the appropriate time, then so be it. And we’d all support that.”

By contrast, Toulon’s impressive back-row Steffon Armitage was not considered for selection by England coach Stuart Lancaster.

A cut and paste job or a remarkable co-incidence? Make your own mind up.