Friday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News sees the squads for the weekend, club corner, chewing the fat with Harry Johnson-Holmes and Super Rugby going stateside.

The Game Goes National

Image Credit - Delphy

Image Credit – Delphy

Well, look who’s back!

It’s fantastic to see the return of the Western Force to Aussie rugby. After the year WA fans have had to go through, to come out the other side and see that they’ll be taking the field tonight against the Fiji Warriors will really be something special.

On that, Nick H and I sat down and chatted to scrumhalf Ryan Louwrens ahead of tonight’s clash on our brand new podcast show ‘The Dropped Kick-Off’ which you can check out here.

In regards to their team, the Force have put together a solid outfit, with eight players from the previous squad returning.

Force Squad: Peter Grant, Rod Davies, Marcel Brache, Rodney Iona, Brad Lacey, Andrew Deegan, Ian Prior (capt), Brynard Stander, Chris Alcock, Tevin Ferris, Johan Bardoul, Fergus Lee-Warner, Chris Heiberg, Heath Tessmann (vc), Harry Lloyd. Reserves: Alifeleti Kaitu’u, Tom Sheminant, Kieran Longbottom, Leon Power, Harrison Orr, Ryan Louwrens, AJ Alatimu, Clay Uyen.

I am not sure what the Fijian Warriors will bring, and this is a young Force side. But they will be hungry and keen, and I predict the men from the west will start the year with a win in front of a sold out crowd. Force by 14.

Now, we head into Super Rugby.

Starting off in Melbourne, the Rebels will be up against a tough Crusaders outfit who are currently on a five match winning streak.

The Stockade have been boosted by the return of Will Genia, as well as the promotion of Fereti Sa’aga, Sam Talakai, Geoff Parling and Colby Fainga’a to the starting side.

Rebels Squad: Jack Maddocks, Sefa Naivalu, Reece Hodge, Billy Meakes, Marika Koroibete, Jack Debreczeni, Will Genia, Amanaki Mafi, Colby Fainga’a, Angus Cottrell, Adam Coleman (c), Geoff Parling, Sam Talakai, Anaru Rangi, Fereti Sa’aga. Reserves: Nathan Charles, Tetera Faulkner, Jermaine Ainsley, Matt Philip, Lopeti Timani, Michael Ruru, Tom English, Semisi Tupou

The Rebels should improve a lot compared to previous weeks, but this is the Crusaders, who are in flying form at the moment. I only see this going one way. Crusaders by 20 or more.

And finally, the Waratahs host the Blues in Sydney in a match that every Aussie fan will be desperate to win. Please, I’ll take anything at this point. Let’s just beat a Kiwi side.

Israel Folau is back in the starting lineup, alongside Cam Clark, Lalakai Foketi and Will Miller.

Waratahs Squad: Israel Folau, Cam Clark, Lalakai Foketi, Kurtley Beale, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Bernard Foley, Jake Gordon, Michael Wells, Michael Hooper (c), Will Miller, Rob Simmons, Ned Hanigan, Sekope Kepu, Damien Fitzpatrick, Tom Robertson. Reserves: Hugh Roach, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Paddy Ryan, Tom Staniforth, Jed Holloway, Nick Phipps, Curtis Rona, Bryce Hegarty

Yeah I know, if there is any match we could win against the Kiwis, surely it’s this one. But we’re 35 games down at the moment, and so often with the Blues we’ve been here before and got spanked. I’m not going to make a prediction. I refuse. I don’t want to jinx anything.

The Reds and Brumbies have the bye.

In other fixtures, the Chiefs will host a red hot Jaguares outfit, the Hurricanes face the Lions, the Stormers will host the Bulls, and the Sharks will come up against the Highlanders.

Club Corner

Kingston, Tom scores 140913D-5266.JPG

Club Corner is back again for another week, and we’ll kick off down in the Nation’s Capital.

In the fight for the John I Dent Cup, round four saw a couple of close quarter games. Easts pulled off a big win over Royals 25-23, Gungahlin got back to winning ways against Wests with a 36-31 win, and Tuggeranong prevailed across the border in Queanbeyan with a 10-29 win.

Round Five Fixtures:

Royals v Wests
Uni-Norths v Gungahlin 
Tuggeranong v Easts 

Queanbeyan have the bye.

Next up, we head up to Sydney for round five of the Shute Shield, coming off what has been a controversial week for the competition. In the round four results, West Harbour defeated the Wicks 30-12, the Beasties knocked over Manly 16-9, the Rats demolished Penrith in their last game 5-87, Eastwood grabbed a surprise win over Southern Districts 30-28, the Students went down to Northern Suburbs down in Bowral 26-32, and the Two Blues grabbed their first win of the season with a 37-26 win over Gordon.

Round Five Fixtures:

Gordon v Sydney University 
Randwick v Eastwood 
Manly v Penrith (Bye)
Northern Suburbs v West Harbour 
Warringah v Southern Districts
Eastern Suburbs v Parramatta

Down in Melbourne, the Dewar Shield enters into Round Three this weekend. Round Two saw Box Hill beat Footscray 42-19. Harlequins defeat Moorabbin 38-17, Melbourne Rugby Club pump Melbourne Uni 57-3, and Power House knock over Endeavour Hills 45-12.

Round Three Fixtures:

Box Hill v Harlequins
Melbourne Uni v Footscray  
Moorabbin v Endeavour Hills
Power House v Melbourne Rugby Club

Heading West, on top of the Force returning the RugbyWA Premier Grade continues into round five. Round Four saw Palmyra, Associates, Nedlands, Joondalup, UWA and Wanneroo pick up impressive wins.

Round Five Fixtures:

Palmyra v Wanneroo Districts 
Wests Scarborough v Perth Bayswater 
Nedlands v UWA 
Associates v Joondalup
Cottesloe v Kalamunda
Coastal Cavaliers v ARKs

Southern Lions will have the bye.

And finally, we head over to the Hospital Challenge Cup in Brisbane for Round Six of their competition. Round four saw Brothers smash Bond Uni 47-8, Easts knock over Sunnybank 45-17, Norths go down to GPS 17-40, and Wests go down in a thriller against Souths 31-33.

Round Six Fixtures:

Norths v University of Queensland 
Souths v Bond University
GPS v Wests GPS 
Sunnybank v Brothers

Easts will have the bye.

On a side note, I have had folks request I review that we start including the South Australian competition. Unfortunately, I’d love to, but currently the site RugbyLink has absolutely nothing updated on any of the competitions in South Australia. Rest assured, I’ll try and find the results another way for next week. Hope everyone enjoys their weekend of rugby.

Here with Holmes

Harry Johnson-Holmes watches a penalty attempt

Harry Johnson-Holmes watches a penalty attempt

The Waratahs have an awesome opportunity this weekend to break the Kiwi streak with a win over the Blues, with every Aussie rugby fan and his dog desperate for the losing streak to end.

Harry Johnson-Holmes admitted things have been pretty up and down for the Tahs so far, with a four match winning streak brought to a crashing halt by the Lions a fortnight ago.

However, he admitted that the loss then might could prove beneficial in the long run when he sat down with yours truly.

“[With the Lions game] I think it was a good timing. If it was to happen, it was good time for it to happen,” he said to GAGR.

“We had just come off the four game winning streak, and feeling pretty good about our game. Really, when that happens it might give you a false sense of security and and you might think you’ll be getting away with it.  To have that loss early on in the season was a good reality check.

“There is lot of potential still left in the team…  It’s all about building on what we’ve got at the moment. We’re showing some real glimpses of greatness and our true potential at the moment. It’s about putting together structures and systems, so that we can do that for the full 80 minutes and not just 20 minutes at a time.

“Everyone knows the against the likes of the New Zealand outfits, that’s not going to cut it. We’re completely aware of that and we’re just looking at making sure as a group we start being more consistent.”

While many are always quick to squawk the Kiwis current record, but Johnson-Holmes admitted that doing that would not help the Waratahs players.

“We have to keep our focus in the present,” he added.

“The whole record of the New Zealand teams against opposition isn’t really fazing us; we’re just focusing on making sure that we can be effective on the night to get that win, that we stick to our strengths and nullify their strengths.

“We’ve got the calibre of players, we’ve got in the combinations. That’s really going to be the best way to show Super Rugby what we are capable of and that we are able to play against the best in the competition.”

Check out the full interview we did with him here. 


USA Men Sydney 7s

Finally, to finish off this week, Super Rugby has leaked a paper outlining their 2030 strategy for the game, and all roads are pointing to the USA.

The US has seen more and more folks start to take up rugby, and that has been seen by the improvement of their Sevens teams in the World Series.

But according to Duncan Johnstone from, America is the holy grail of up-and-coming rugby, and Super Rugby must make a move on it before the Northern Hemisphere teams do.

“Just to see SANZAAR looking ahead is encouraging,” Johnstone wrote.

“They have been accused of being reactionary rather than visionary and its right for them to be looking at ways to improve their competitions and the southern standing in world rugby.

“You can be sure their northern counterparts won’t be sitting on their hands. It would arguably be easier to involve the US in a trans-Atlantic conference than in one of Europe’s multi-tiered continental championship.

“The rugby world is waiting patiently for the sleeping giant that is the United States to awaken.

“It might be some time coming but it will happen.”

Rugby has currently had mixed success in the US, with a first tournament having mixed success overall. However, a new Major League Rugby tournament is set to start in 2019, which could see the game take off properly in the States.

“Asia remains a key market in a time-friendly zone for New Zealand and Australia and there will be hopes that the untapped market of China can eventually be stirred,” Johnstone added.

“But rugby in the United States is more advanced and, for all the geographical complications, it would be foolish to ignore because if Sanzaar can’t come up with a formula to find inclusion, you can be sure someone else will.

“Whoever gets in first will likely laugh all the way to the bank.”

What do you reckon Gaggers? Will we see and American Super Rugby team in the future?

For more on American rugby, check out our latest article on the American rugby scene, courtesy of our resident yank Jamie Miller.


Do you like writing about rugby? You passionate about pursuing a career in writing and online sports journalism?

We’re looking for enthusiastic rugby sports writers to join us and help with doing our weekly rugby news segments, like the one you see above.

Previous writing experience desired. Opportunities include having a recognisable independent sports journal on your resume, and you may also get the chance to meet Rugby Reg. We also can pay you $20 per news day.

If you are interested/ know someone who would be interested, send an email to or message us on Facebook.



  • Nutta

    I propose silence regarding the Tarts vs Blu-Boys.

    No one say anything until full time.

    No jinx.

    • Xaviera

      I totally agree. Except that I’m writing the Preview, and I’ve yet to reconcile that dilemma.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        in the immortal words of Nike. “Just do it!”

        • Xaviera

          Done. See for yourself here:

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Nice write up mate. I’m picking the Blues cos I have to but I’m not confident. At the same time I’m not confident the Tahs will step up. TBH I hope that for the sake of Australian rugby the Tahs do win. They’ll need to be a lot smarter in their decisions though and if the Blues manage to pressure Beale and Foley then a boil over could happen.
          Good luck mate

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I’ll respect that.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Nah! Lets give them a serve, especially piss boy! ;-)
      Happy for everyone to give the Reds a serve too, so this is not one way traffic!

    • Nutta

      Fk Me.

  • paul

    “Whoever gets in first will likely laugh all the way to the bank.”

    Sounds perfect for sanzaar, they won’t be able to resist it will they, just think of all that money that will pay for our rugby.

    • Alister Smith

      someone will be laughing…not sure if it will be Sanzaar

  • Kokonutcreme

    Expansion v Extinction. We’ve experienced firsthand the impact of introducing 3 underdeveloped additional teams and now SANZAAR is considering introducing 4 plus the expected return of the Force for a 20 team comp.

    Think I’ve seen this movie before and the ending is the same.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      I think if this opens the door to a 2 tier competition rather than unbalanced conferences then I think it has merit. Tiers where all sides play each other once, a promotion relegation and a final could work

      • Guest

        Not sure if it will work, If one Australian team, for example will be in the second tier, and will not play any other Australian or New Zealander teams, but few islanders, few Asians and few Americans team, the travelling will be a killer, and I’m not sure there will be a lot of viewers.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Yeah I get that but it’s still an avenue for players and if RA get their shit together they can allow players to move so the team gets better

    • Bakkies

      I doubt the Force will want to return to a comp they were screwed out of.

  • Muzz

    The American Major League Rugby competition doesn’t start in 2019, it started 2 weeks ago. I think they’re planning to add teams from New York and Dallas in 2019.

  • Muzz

    How novel for Sanzaar to develop a ‘strategy’ for Super Rugby moving forward!

  • Gareth

    As a Brumbies supporter living in Brisbane with reds season tickets I have one question. Who the hell in RA agreed with this draw. 50% of the Aussie teams with a bye and it seems the Friday night game has become a rarity. I loved Friday night super rugby after a weeks work. This year there are no Friday night games for Aussies at home in weeks 5,8,9,11,13,14 & 16.
    Friday night games 2018
    rebels get 8 (all at home)
    reds 3 ( 2 at home)
    brumbies 2 (both away)
    tahs 1 (home)

    I wonder which fan base RA is interested in.

    • nmpcart

      Agreed, how do we end up with 2 Australian teams with the bye the same week?

      • Gareth

        It happens to us twice this season (two teams on a bye) once to the South Africans and the kiwi’s with more team dont have more than one team on a bye at all.

    • John R

      Second this mate. I even went so far as to send an whingey email to Sanzaar about it.

  • Brisneyland Local

    Morning GAGR’s! Well as I have said previously, I am not the biggest fan of Alan Jones, But his open letter to Ralene Castles in the Australian this morning is brutally honest. For all of you GAGR’s out there it is worth the $2 to buy The AUstralian this morning just to read that!Whammmeeeee!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      got a summary

      • Alister Smith

        RA sucks and they’ve f%$#ed everything up….but you wanted a bit more than that I suppose

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Nah that covers it

      • Brisneyland Local

        Basically slamming RA and Ralene for the state of SUper rugby, the decision to cut the Penrith team. The giteau rule, shit coaching standards in Aus. A very long and detailed slamming! I dont agree with all of it, but most of it seems pretty accurate, and surely RC and RA are going to start to feel some pressure!

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Read it in the Virgin lounge. He’s a bitter and twisted little individual isn’t he? TBH he does ask some good questions but if I was RA I’d go back and say provide me a solution. Any wanker can ask awkward questions. I also disagree with any Trans-Tasman competition and ask “what does NZ get out of that?” I do t think a Trans Tasman comp would generate enough money to be viable and we’d just lose more to the NH.

        • Hoss

          Spot on mate – anybody can tell me whats wrong with stuff – say it to my own staff ‘dont bring me problems, bring me solutions’

          If i wanted to hire someone to report problems, they’d look like Stormy Daniels …………..

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yeah he is a bot bitter, but like you said his questions are very valid. I think each week he is going to release a column with an answer to each of the questions he poses. I think he is going to roast them slowly!

    • Alister Smith

      My copy cost $3 but it was worth it. He is certainly going hard. I don’t agree with everything he says but he is raising some real issues that need to be addressed.

      • Brisneyland Local

        Mate I have the digital subscription so to be honest I was guessing at the cost of the paper! SO out of touch I am!
        Like you I dont agree with everything he has said, but most of what he has said is pretty accurate and pretty telling. Surely the circles in which AJ moves, which truly is the big end of town, will start applying pressure to RA and RC very shortly.

        • Alister Smith

          I think a lot of his commentary is pretty accurate. I am not sure I agree with a couple of his points – dismantling the NRC (again). I have enjoyed NRC myself even though the team I follow (NSW Country) is a faux team I have more connection to it than I do to the Waratahs. And NRC might be all we have left if we lose Super Rugby for some reason. But I understand the argument. His comments around high performance and coaching development are similar to my own here. I don’t understand the schools arguments – I have only heard his side on this – so best I don’t comment there.

          I wonder if he is being a bit harsh on Raelene Castle. She has only been there for 100 days. Even the Sadducees and Pharisees gave Jesus three years before calling for crucifixion. And I am not sure if it was RA’s call on Penrith. If they were to intervene and block SRU’s call aren’t they interfering in the administration of club rugby unnecessarily. I am not sure given other recent articles if there might be other reasons around the failures out there. As I understand it SRU made the call and NSWRU and RA chose to support it.

          As to the FTA TV. The last I heard SRU had to pay, or at least bring in advertising, worth $250,000. We can’t pay too many players out of a -$250,000 TV rights deal.

          I feel his angst and I think he writes a bloody good article but I wonder if he simplifies some of the arguments.

          I am keen to see the promised follow up where he promises to answer his own questions. That would give us an alternative plan for how rugby could be restructured. I am of the view that we are almost at the stage where we need to blow it up and start again but if we go down that path I think we make sure we come up with a better plan than the current one. Not just a different plan.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Slome really good points there.

        • Damo

          Yes, he does simplify the issues. However it is the profile & platform that he is coming from that is most important. And it’s not unreasonable to target the CEO, regardless of how long she has been there. That’s the stuff she has to deal with to justify the big salary. The key objective of the ongoing Jones tirade is to jam RA into creating a strategic long term plan for rugby in this country A plan that recognises the difficulty of operating in probably the most competitive football environments in the world- both in terms of player recruitment & development as well as creating profitable market presence. Additionally and possibly more importantly communicate the strategy to create a plan to the rugby community. They don’t have to have all of the solutions immediately – but there needs to be clear intent. At this point we have no idea whether anything has changed under RC. Keep going AJ. W have little to lose.

    • Dud Roodt

      How about a little cheeky copy paste?

      • Brisneyland Local

        I will put in som key paras but copy right lawyers will come after me if I put the whole thing in!

      • Brisneyland Local

        To quote Alan Jones:

        “Having wiped the Western Force out of Super Rugby, Rugby Australia argued this would result in stronger Super Rugby performances by the remaining four franchises. That, of course, hasn’t happened.
        And we were also told that there would be more money for the “grassroots”. Well struggling Penrith haven’t received a cent from Sydney Rugby Union, NSW Rugby Union or Rugby Australia. And now, rugby has no face and no presence in one of the most densely populated football areas of the country.

        I alerted you last week to the situation with the NSW Waratahs. There is apparently no money and no resources to keep Penrith afloat, but we can appoint an “executive coach” within NSW whose job is “to facilitate change to their development”. Well, we got the “change” this week. Penrith have been booted out.”

        • Hoss

          Greetings Padwan.

          Confused am i.

          Ok Alan (spoiler alert – i dont like the guy, his opinions, soap box, holier than thou approach and i’ve said it before, that anyone charged with lewd behaviour in a public place, well whatever comes out of their mouth is………….plus, this could be a massive red-herring to cover over his current legal challenges in Qld)

          Honest Al – you say you dont want the gig, great, then pony up a blueprint for fixing all that ales our game.

          Put forward a vision, a template, costings, and end date and the desired outcomes.

          Let us all drink from the well that the great Sydney Parrot drinks from and all will be at one with universe.

          Show us how you will lead us to the promised land oh regal one and let thee anoint thy feet and worship at the altar of her majesty, the Queen of Radio.

        • Brisneyland Local

          He is going to! Infact I reckon he has already written it. But they will drag it out on a week by week type thing.
          Like the standard game show thing, of “After the connercial break!”
          I agree with you, I am not the biggest fan of AJ. But the enemy of my enemy is my friend. even if it is only for a week.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          I agree mate. Hot air from a blowhard with no substance to it.

      • Bakkies

        Penrith collapse is rugby’s latest disaster: Raelene Castle has questions to answer
        Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle.
        Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle.
        The Australian12:00AM May 4, 2018
        Share on Facebook
        Share on Twitter
        Share on email
        Share more…
        ALAN JONES
        Radio broadcaster

        For weeks now, I have written about the crisis that is Australian Rugby.

        Not one syllable or statement has emerged from Rugby Australia which would suggest they even understand the problems, let alone have any answers to them.

        People such as Mark Ella are most probably forgotten by the hierarchy of Australian rugby. But Mark Ella is one of the greatest rugby players ever to wear green and gold.

        He wrote in this newspaper last Saturday about the plight of Australian rugby and in particular Super Rugby and he said, “the situation is making Australia the laughing stock of world rugby, but for some stupid reason we all live in hope that the status quo will change … Australian Rugby may have had a difficult year in 2017 with the axing of the Western Force but it doesn’t look too rosy in 2018 with their on-field efforts in no way justifying the cut that divided the rugby nation…”

        Mark refers to “what is happening now”. Well, what is happening?

        READ MORE
        Waratahs trainingThis is still my game: FolauWAYNE SMITH
        This is the week in which only Queensland saved face in Super Rugby but the most alarming development was the removal from the Sydney grade competition of the Penrith Rugby Union Football Club. Penrith is a massive catchment area at the bottom of the Blue Mountains.

        Having wiped the Western Force out of Super Rugby, Rugby Australia argued this would result in stronger Super Rugby performances by the remaining four franchises. That, of course, hasn’t happened.

        And we were also told that there would be more money for the “grassroots”.

        Well struggling Penrith haven’t received a cent from Sydney Rugby Union, NSW Rugby Union or Rugby Australia. And now, rugby has no face and no presence in one of the most densely populated football areas of the country.

        I alerted you last week to the situation with the NSW Waratahs. There is apparently no money and no resources to keep Penrith afloat, but we can appoint an “executive coach” within NSW whose job is “to facilitate change to their development”. Well, we got the “change” this week. Penrith have been booted out.

        We are told they can’t compete; they were getting thrashed on the scoreboard so badly that the rugby environment was “unsafe”.

        Yet, this “executive coach” is supposedly changing the culture of the Waratahs to “one that learns from loss — I call it learning how to lose”. And they apparently didn’t understand how to do that properly, losing, that is. Well this bloke must be the success story of rugby.

        NSW lost to the Lions, 29-0. And the Sydney rugby competition has just lost a whole club. I call that losing on a grand scale.

        But it’s a metaphor of where the money is being wasted. I’ve said many times that in this simple rugby home, which is meant to house all members of the rugby family, if you spend too much money on the roof and nothing on the floor, the house will collapse.

        We’ve seen that collapse continue this week.

        So Raelene Castle, you’ve been there nearly 100 days. I understand that no due diligence was done for your appointment, on your role as CEO with the Canterbury rugby league club. So I’m not too sure what expertise in rugby you bring to the task.

        Many are hoping that the expensive failures at Canterbury aren’t about to be revisited on Australian rugby.

        Raelene, perhaps you could answer one or two questions and I’d be more than happy to follow up next week with what I would think would be the appropriate answers — a sort of blueprint for Rugby Australia. Surely after 100 days, the rugby family should know what your policies are.

        I’m wondering if you can answer some of the following:

        After Penrith, what is your vision for the grassroots of the game? How can we get more kids playing rugby union as opposed to AFL, soccer and rugby league.

        What will you do immediately for the Australian Schoolboys concept to make them competitive with England and New Zealand? Do you understand that if these players can win at this level, they will be imbued early in their rugby life with the belief that they can win when they become Super Rugby players and Wallabies.

        How are you going to keep our best schoolboys in the game instead of letting them defect to the NRL? If we don’t offer these players a fulltime rugby option, they’ll continue to vote with their feet and leave our game as they are doing now.

        What are your plans for the NRC? Surely a waste of time and money. It takes away from the clubs, one of our breeding grounds, playing a longer season and that makes it difficult for them to survive. Yet by surviving they can provide better facilities for the juniors. The multiplier effects are obvious, or do you continue to waste money on the Titanic of rugby competitions.

        How do you ensure that we never again have rookie head coaches in charge of all four Super Rugby franchises? Surely we need world-class coaches for NSW and Queensland. And if we are going to blood a rookie coach, perhaps that can be done with the Melbourne Rebels and the Brumbies. And how do you cultivate Australian coaches? I could suggest you start by not ignoring outstanding proven Australian coaches who keep offering and being rejected by the unknowns who make the decisions to appoint coaches.

        What are you going to do with this infamous Giteau Law brought in for the 2015 Rugby World Cup so that European-based Australian players would be available for Test selection? Surely we need the 60-cap players to be leaders in our national and provisional rugby competitions at home. We should expect them to want to play for the Wallabies. Don’t you think if our culture was sound, they’d be happy here?

        Raelene, when are you going to get our game on free-to-air TV? Of course, to do that you would have to have a product worth showing. And on current standards, we wouldn’t be able to match, for appeal, repeats of Days of Our Lives. How can our game grow, for example in Western Sydney, if the cost of cable TV is over $1000 a year and families can’t afford it? Don’t you think if we are ever going to challenge the other codes we need more free-to-air coverage? And if we want a competition to rival the NRL, wouldn’t it make sense to make Super Rugby a trans-Tasman competition so we can watch the bloody stuff? Raelene, do you sit up and watch the South African games at 2am in the morning? Forgive me for asking, do you watch any games and do you understand what you’re watching?

        Will you engage with key people of influence such as successful former administrators, coaches and players who may have something to offer in terms of energy and ideas?

        Raelene, please believe me, I’m not seeking a job, I have enough on my plate. But do you plan on getting people like Andrew Forrest inside the tent to channel his passion for the game and considerable resources? Or do you do what your chairman did last year and bid him an impolite farewell? There are a lot of big-hitters out there keen to help. Do you know who they are?

        Do you plan to get fresh blood into an underperforming high-performance unit? Has Steven Larkham, a brilliant player, but an as yet unproven coach been anointed as the next Australian coach? How has Rod Kafer become the guru of Australian coaches, appointed by your organisation when he was himself a failed coach. How does this make our high performance unit world-class?

        Do you intend addressing the disturbing perception that a certain clique is running the game? It’s a closed shop. How do people sit on the board of Rugby Australia and still be paid commentators on the game for a contracted broadcaster? Do you accept that that looks as though you are desperate to control the message?

        Put bluntly, Raelene, is there a message and are you trying to control it? Do you think the rugby public is so stupid that they don’t understand this?

        Raelene, I ask these questions because in case you’re not aware, our game is at the bottom of the birdcage and those running it are seen as being totally disconnected from the average rugby fan.

        Believe me Raelene, there is an overwhelming feeling in rugby land that our game is in need of an “Arab Spring”.

        To be perfectly blunt, the rugby dictators on the board sitting in leather chairs and occupying the very best seats at international games appear to be more concerned with hanging onto what they’ve got than growing what is rightly owned by others.

        The ivory tower at Moore Park might look impressive, but those who inhabit it are anything but.

        Raelene, I hope you can answer these questions. If you can’t, don’t you think the job should be given to someone who can?

        • Moz

          Thanks Bakkies! I wonder if the whole office in Moore Park sat at their desks this morning reading that and sputtering in their lattes!

        • Dud Roodt

          Thanks Bakkies. If the lawyers come knocking, we’ve got your back*

          Personally I think this is all a bit rough directed firmly at Raelene – but, she is the CEO, so she has to be the face of the organisation. The state we find ourselves in (other than NSW, the greatest state of all, of course) can certainly be tracked back to Pulver, but the real blame should be leveled at John O’Neill. He was the one who squandered the millions we had after 2003. He was the one who drove the terrible policy of paying overs for league players and ignored the bottom level of the game.

          I think Alan is correct in saying the board members truly do seem more keen on maintaining their jobs and the lifestyles they afford them than giving back to the game. I commented here before when Phil Waugh was announced as the latest board member – why isn’t an Ella on the board? Someone with connections to the indigenous community, and ticking all the other apparent prerequisites of having played for the Wallabies and being involved in business.

          Jones does seem to over simplify the struggle to get rugby on FTA TV. It isn’t easy. Obviously. How do you convince them to spend on a game that is in terminal decline? Although I would say our best bet is this year, with 10 losing the BBL, and now having no major sport on their network – this could be the time to convince them.

          I appreciate his passion, and certainly agree with most of what he says (particularly about approaching the right people to help).

          Thanks again Bakkies

          *not actually a lawyer, so can’t promise you’re safe

        • Bakkies

          I doubt Ella would get past the nominations committee.

          Twiggy managed to achieve FTA in four months as he has relationships with the right people. When asked a launch months ago he was asked about FTA he responded by saying he was already working on it and will make an announcement.

          This is something the RA tends to forget when doing business.

          Agreed O’Neill being brought to account as he squandered a serious amount of doe and made reckless decisions when the game was in trouble in his second stint.

    • Greg

      Mr Jones presents, in my opinion, as a pompous know-it-all in his radio show. Occasionally, he lets the cat out of the bag that his show is just playing to the punters.

      We need more passion like this.

      • Brisneyland Local

        I have listened to the show pnce, and found it to be pandering to the masses and switched off quickly.
        But for once I found his article quite pointed and mostly accurate. Hopefully he can bring some more higher pressure to bear on the RA.

      • Dud Roodt

        He knows his audience (old white people scared of their own shadow) – and acts accordingly.

  • Alister Smith

    In terms of the US – I think we would be better off waiting until they could form a five team conference on their own that would include Argentina and perhaps another South American team and one from Canada. That way they will have all their local conference games in their own time zones (I think they have three??). One US team on its own would just introduce another Argentina type team – stuck out on its own and introducing even more travel. Actually the US is big enough to develop on its own without being part of Sanzaar or Europe. Its not difficult to imagine a 10 team club comp with teams from Canada, USA, and South America. We could have some sort of Champions League with conference winners playing off after the finish of the comp but not some overblown comp with everyone trying to play each other and compete across the globe through a full season.

    • Bakkies

      Pro 14 have put the US on the back burner instead focusing on SA by including them on the board.

      The silence is deafening from the RA in regards to their key partner being on a separate competition board which signs Sanzaar players and weakens the Super Rugby comp.

  • Missing Link

    Congratulations to the Rebels on being the first team to beat a kiwi team this year and break the losing streak. Going to be a sweet victory against the reigning champions.

    • Dud Roodt

      Oh fuck, now you’ve gone and done it, don’t mention the fucking rebels here ML!! I thought you learned your lesson yesterday!

    • Custard Taht

      I think you are right….the rebels have signed enough Force players, that I believe they will bring the Force moz the Crusaders can often be inflicted with.

      • Keith Butler

        Only Meakes from the Force in the run on backs, all the rest in the pack which in the last 2 or 3 games has been mediocre. Time for the forwards to step up.

    • Keith Butler

      Much as I’d like to see it, i’m not holding my breath.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Not a hope mate. Should be a good game though

      • Missing Link

        Ahhh you were right KRL

      • Keith Butler

        Good game if you’re a Saders fan. Rebels pathetic. Taken to the cleaners up front and a non functioning back line. Too many penalties again and the way they fell off tackles was indefensible, obviously never heard of tackling below the waist. The sight of a 120+kg hooker seagulling on the wing scoring 2 tries says it all really. Can’t see them winning many more games if this is the best the Rebels can offer.

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate still better than last year

  • Missing Link

    After reading many comments from Force fans over the last week it’s a clear case of “breakup syndrome”.

    The ARU dumped the Force, in a bad way, like sending them an sms message that it was over, swearing that there was no one else, and then two days later changing their status on facebook to “in a relationship with Melbourne Rebels”.

    The Force, shattered, have been single for a few months and trying to get back into the dating scene, they walk into a club and immediately cast eyes on an electric blue nylon suit, shirt collar on the outside, cutting moves on the dancefloor. next minute, the blue suit locks eyes with the Force and goes straight up to her. “Can I buy you a drink?” the rather suave looking man asks, “My name is Andrew, but you can call me the Twiggmeister”. “I’ll have a midnight kiss thanks” said the Force.

    Fast forward a few hours, hotel penthouse, clothes strewn across the floor and the Force are sitting up in bed, smoking a dart, thinking “jeezus, this guy could be the one”.

    The Force and the Twiggmeister were going from strength to strength, when it seemed like a good time for a facebook update. The Force set their relationship status to “in a relationship with Andrew Twiggmeister”, but that wasn’t enough, they needed the ARU, and the new lady in their life, Melbourne Rebels to know how happy they now are.

    “F U ARU, you cheater, and with none other than that two bit whore Melbourne Rebels, you two both deserve eachother, I hope you enjoy your life together because you’ll never be as happy as me, if you haven’t already realised, I’ve moved on, to better things, I have new friends too. I am better off now than I was when I was with you. breaking up with you was the best thing I’ve ever done”

    • Greg

      This is actually quite funny and seems to have been received without the excitement of yesterday.

      Good luck to the Force and whatever Facebook is…..

    • Moz

      Haha ML, ….when I first saw the first couple of words of your spray, and it was about the Force, I thought “Jeez….are you poking the beast again??? Brave dude!!!”.

      But I doff my cap at you!!! An excellent read and a good laugh. Well done Sir! No wonder I have been singing break-up songs lately in the car during the drive to work, buying those tubs of ice cream, and changed my hair style…I woz dumped! But no more singing “Baby come back”. I moved to “I will survive”, followed by “Don’t stop believing”…. Perhaps I might even play “Never go back” by Fleetwood Mac?

      • Missing Link

        Cheers Moz, I just want everyone to get along,I understand people heal differently, and in the case of some, they don’t heal at all. I can only use my own experience as an example where I had a deep seated hate for the All Blacks at a given point in time but I healed and at the end of the day realised it’s just a game.

        • Wallaby Dave

          I thought after the initial break up the Force were at home, curtains drawn, Air Supply’s “All out of Love” blaring whilst drinking straight vodka, out of the bottle. But Twiggmeister has mended a broken heart apparently

        • Missing Link

          RHCP – Under the Bridge :)

        • Moz

          I wonder if Clyne is listening to “The World Has Turned and Left Me Here” by Weezer. Maybe some Smiths “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now”

        • Missing Link

          Clyne is listening to Boyz ii Men – End of the Road :)

        • Perth girl

          The Thief and the Liar by Wolfmother

        • Moz

          And very topical! Perfect if they play that tonight!

        • Moz

          Oh and by the way – it’s actually “Joker and the Thief”, which is somehow even more appropriate. The Pulver and Clyne theme song……. :)

        • John_R

          Hah! I just said the same thing, but I figured the misnomer was somehow not by accident!

        • Hoss

          More like ‘Were not Gonna Take it’ – Twisted Sister

        • John R

          U Got it Bad – Usher.

        • John R

          Friendship ended with RA, now Twiggy is my best friend

        • Chinese Dave

          Are you on SA?

        • John R

          Gotta admit, I have no idea what that is Dave

        • Chinese Dave

          No worries, it’s a different forum where that same thing came up from the cricket thread. All good mate.

        • John R

          Ah got ya got ya. With Twiggy and RA? That meme template has been around for a good bit now. Seemed apropos with Missing Links analogy above!

        • Moz

          If I could turn back time?

    • Habitual offender

      You missed a bit.

      You know, the “Melbourne needs and deserves love too” plea.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Brilliant ML. Made me laugh mate

  • Duncher

    Fuck the Yanks and the horses they probably stole from some poor little country full of brown people and oil they rode in on.

    I hope they develop their game, but why the shit would they be part of Super Rugby????

    That would take an impossible travel schedule with a bunch of irrelevant games and make it impossibler and provide irrelevanter games.

    Just my point O two

  • Nicholas Wasiliev

    As an FYI, here are the details for the Force’s FTA broadcast deal:

  • Perth girl

    A sellout game and FTA television coverage – two things RA can only dream of.

    • John_R

      Lol. V. True

  • Marilyn Macey

    Chinese Dave, into the naughty corner! Raelene, Robert, whatever, these questions have been begging to be asked for more than 100 days. There has been no forward planning to grow/ develop rugby in Aus from the ARU apart from a new building, rebranding and possibly bidding for a World Cup in a very long time. One would hope she had some knowledge of what she was getting into on taking the job. At least give she could announce ONE long term goal , rather than appoint another executive to an already top heavy organisation. As I said in an email to the sports editor of the SMH recently, the ARU, can see no further into the future than deciding what red to have with their lunch that day. He didn’t reply to me! PS I am a Force fan and I know of the rebranding but nah they are still Anti Rugby Union to me.


Die-hard Brumbies/Country Eagles fan now based in Sydney. Author, anthropologist, musician, second rower. Still trying to make sense of the 21st century. Dropped a debut novel last year...

More in Rugby