Friday’s Rugby News sees the fallout from the World Cup announcement, O’Driscoll calling for Bill to head down under, the Wallabies announcing their squad for the England test and a trio signing for the Rebels.
In what was a pretty unprecedented move, instead of going for something new and pick Ireland, or go where World Rugby wanted to go and pick South Africa, the voting parties decided to go where the money was, and picked France as the host of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
The French triumphed 24 votes to South Africa’s 15 in the World Council voting process, with Ireland being eliminated in the first round. Even the other African rugby vote didn’t vote for South Africa.
In France, the mood is beyond ecstatic. The same couldn’t be said for South Africa, with the loss off-field capping off what has been a horrid week for the SARU and the Springboks, as they are still reeling from their embarrassing record loss to Ireland.
And the SARU President, Mark Alexander, wasn’t happy about it.
“The last 15 months were very transparent but the last two weeks were very opaque,” said Alexander on Fox Sports.
“We abided by those rules up till today but certain protocol rules were broken during that process, which we are very upset by.”
CEO Jurie Roux was also similarly disappointed with who ended up voting and not voting for the RSA bid.
“All round probably more disappointed for the country as there were heightened expectations,” he said.
“In the end we all agreed on a process and one of it was a blind vote at the end.
“Like a rugby match, you have to take it on the chin and move on.
“They (the council members) exercised an option and you’ve got to respect them for it.”
“I think we can tell who voted for us and who did not. We are not vindictive and we agreed to this process.
“You stick to the process. If you don’t do that you don’t belong sitting round the table.”
It was even more disappointing for the Irish, who were knocked out early in the voting process, despite the huge political campaign and celebrities coming forward to support the bid.
Ya feeling lucky, Aus?
Nope, that isn’t Eddie Jones messing around. Brian O’Driscoll has come out in support of Australia hosting another World Cup at some point in the future.
“If I was Australia I’d be putting my hand up pretty soon,” he said to rugby.com.au.
“They’ve done it before. Look at France…repeat World Cups in 16 years.”
He is also confident that his home nation as well will one day be able to host Bill, and found it frustrating that money won out over the opportunity to ride the wave of Irish growth in the game over the last few years.
“It’s not just a shame for those players but it’s a shame for the country because we know we will embrace it like you’ve never seen,” he said.
“There’ll be a time when Ireland will host a World Cup.
“There’ll have to be because we’ve put our best foot forward and shown we’re capable of doing it and we were a viable option this time around, so we’ve got to be selected at some point.”
Ireland have been quick to criticise the process by which France was selected, arguing that smaller rugby nations with less financial weight will be more likely to be overlooked under the current system.
“World Rugby and Rugby World Cup need to decide what tournament they want,” IRFU CEO Philip Browne said.
“There’s the commercial imperative but it shouldn’t be everything and Ireland has, why should we not have a tournament,
“We can run a tournament perfectly well, create significant revenues and we showed we could produce significant revenues.”
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont dismissed any claims of tampering of the vote.
Wallaby squad named
The Wallabies have officially named their squad for the starting side to face England, which was released on rugby.com.au last night.
The most notable inclusion was that of Adam Coleman, who returns to the starting lineup after battling a serious thumb injury. He made it the major training sessions, but will be closely monitored before the start of the test.
The surprise inclusion was that of Samu Kerevi, who has retained his spot in the lineup despite many question his defensive capabilities.
While his defence has been improving, Michael Cheika has got plenty of bench coverage in the event that things go south, with Karmichael Hunt named on the bench for the second time this tour.
Check out the Wallabies squad below, (one will be omitted before match day):
1. Scott Sio (41 Tests)
2. Tatafu Polota-Nau (80 Tests)
3. Sekope Kepu (89 Tests)
4. Rob Simmons (80 Tests)
5. Adam Coleman (20 Tests)
6. Ned Hanigan (11 Tests)
7. Michael Hooper (c) (77 Tests)
8. Sean McMahon (24 Tests)
9. Will Genia (vc) (86 Tests)
10. Bernard Foley (vc) (53 Tests)
11. Reece Hodge (22 Tests)
12. Samu Kerevi (16 Tests)
13. Tevita Kuridrani (56 Tests)
14. Marika Koroibete (6 Tests)
15. Kurtley Beale (69 Tests)
16. Stephen Moore (127 Tests)
17. Tom Robertson (17 Tests)
18. Allan Alaalatoa (21 Tests)
19. Matt Philip (2 Tests)
20. Ben McCalman (51 Tests)
21. Lopeti Timani (10 Tests)
22. Nick Phipps (60 Tests)
23. Karmichael Hunt (4 Tests)
24. Henry Speight (19 Tests)
Trio sign with Rebels
Finally, some big changes have continued on at the Melbourne Rebels, with Billy Meakes, Matt Philip and Richard Hardwick becoming the latest players from the Western Force to sign with the Rebels.
With the Rebels acquiring the services of one of World Rugby’s most exciting coaches in Dave Wessels, it seems that the trio are moving over to continue to build on the constructive partnership they had with him over in the west.
“We’re delighted to have Matt, Dickie and Billy join us,” Wessels said to rugby.com.au.
“All three of them work incredibly hard and want to be part of the Wallabies team at the next World Cup.
“They’ll be a great addition to our squad both on and off-field.”
Wessels has also found himself an exciting new prospect in NSW Country Eagles flyhalf Tayler Adams, who has signed for a year.
“Tayler has shown exceptional potential this year with his consistency and game management for West Harbour and NSW Country Eagles,” said Blood.
“The four will add to our depth and versatility, as well as create healthy competition among the group.”
With these three officially confirming their destination, this leaves several Force players still unresolved in their future commitments. This includes high-profile current Wallaby Adam Coleman, flyhalf Jono Lance, and utility back Curtis Rona.