Friday’s Rugby News sees the Super Rugby returning, club corner, Folau appealing and Rugby Australia recruiting.
The time be upon us
The international June series is behind us, and ahead lies round 17 of Super Rugby. So without further ado, lets get lit:
The Reds kick off the Aussie conference when they head to Auckland to face the Blues. Amazingly, the Reds are still in with a shot of making the finals. They just have to win every single bloody game.
Kane Douglas returns to the starting lineup, while Eto Nabuli and Jono Lance also return to the backline. The Reds haven’t won at Eden Park since 2012, so if the Blues keep up their current form they could be a chance here.
Reds Squad: Jono Lance, Jordan Petaia, Samu Kerevi, Duncan Paia’aua, Eto Nabuli, Hamish Stewart, Moses Sorovi, Scott Higginbotham (c), George Smith, Lukhan Tui, Kane Douglas, Harry Hockings, Taniela Tupou, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, JP Smith. Reserves: Alex Mafi, Harry Hoopert, Ruan Smith, Caleb Timu, Angus Scott-Young, Tate McDermott, Aidan Toua, Filipo Daugunu.
The Blues have knocked over stronger Aussie sides before, and this time they are at home. However, if ever there is any time for this Reds outfit to stand up, it is now. Still going with the Blues though. Blues by 4.
Next up, we go to Melbourne. Whether we like it or not, this match between the Rebels and the Waratahs effectively decides who is going to be representing Australia in the quarter finals.
Starting with the home side, Dave Wessels has made two changes to his side that beat the Blues in NZ, with Geoff Parling and Ben Daley coming back into the squad. It’s been a right-weird season for Stockade fans, with the boys winning four of their first five games, losing the next five, and now are sitting on a three game winning streak.
The Tahs meanwhile will be without Michael Hooper for the first time since 2013 (yep, it’s been that fooking long), and also are sweating on the result of Thursday’s hearing on Izzy Folau, (and yeah, I’ll add a comment in once we know what the outcome of that is). Ned Hanigan will come in to the squad, and should Folau get the chop, Bryce Hegarty will likely start at fullback.
Rebels Squad: Dane Haylett-Petty, Jack Maddocks, Tom English (c), Billy Meakes, Marika Koroibete, Reece Hodge, Michael Ruru, Amanaki Mafi, Colby Fainga’a, Angus Cottrell, Geoff Parling, Matt Philip, Sam Talakai, Anaru Rangi, Ben Daley. Reserves: Nathan Charles, Fereti Sa’aga, Jermaine Ainsley, Ross Haylett-Petty, Lopeti Timani, Harrison Goddard, Jack Debreczeni, Sefa Naivalu
Waratahs Squad: Israel Folau/Bryce Hegarty, Cam Clark, Curtis Rona, Kurtley Beale, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Bernard Foley (c), Nick Phipps, Michael Wells, Will Miller, Ned Hanigan, Rob Simmons, Jed Holloway, Sekope Kepu, Damien Fitzpatrick, Tom Robertson. Reserves: Tolu Latu, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Paddy Ryan, Tom Staniforth, Brad Wilkin, Jake Gordon, Bryce Hegarty/TBC, Alex Newsome
This is a pretty damn hard one to call. The Tahs have been arguably more consistent all season, but the Rebels are currently on a three game winning streak. It depends which Rebels side turns up in the second half, but if it’s the good one I’m going with them. Rebels by 5.
Lastly, my boys the Brumbies will keep their campaign alive when the host the Hurricanes in Canberra on Saturday.
The Brums have won their last two games against the Bulls and Sunwolves, but this Canes side looks to be a tough proposition. Dan McKellar has made four changes to the starting lineup, with Hooker Folau Fainga’a, prop Ben Alexander, lock Rory Arnold and flanker Tom Cusack coming in.
Brumbies Squad: Tom Banks, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Kyle Godwin, Andrew Muirhead, Christian Lealiifano (c), Joe Powell, Isi Naisarani, David Pocock, Tom Cusack, Blake Enever, Rory Arnold, Ben Alexander, Folau Fainga’a, Scott Sio. Reserves: Connal McInerney, Nic Mayhew, Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, Richie Arnold, Darcy Swain, Matt Lucas, Wharenui Hawera, Lausii Taliauli
As much as the Ponies have looked okay the last two rounds, I don’t see how that will continue against this Hurricanes outfit. Canes by 10.
In the other matches of the round, the Highlanders will host the Chiefs, the Sunwolves will play the Bulls, the Sharks will play the Lions and the Jags will host the Stormers.
Club rugby continues this weekend all around the country, so let’s take a look back at the week that was.
Round Eleven of the Shute Shield saw Wests go down to Manly 34-45, The Rebels pumped Parra 66-21, Eastern Suburbs pulled off an important win over Eastwood 36-27, Gordon turned up and give Warringah a fright at Rat Park, before going down 27-26, and the Students defeated the Wicks 28-10.
Round Twelve Fixtures:
Gordon v Randwick
West Harbour v Eastern Suburbs
Manly v Sydney University
Parramatta v Warringah
Eastwood v Northern Suburbs
Down in Victoria, round nine of the Dewar Shield saw Endeavour Hills go down 5-46 to Power House, Footscray go down 36-52 to Box Hill, Melbourne held Uni scoreless 0-43, and Moorabbin went down 7-19 to Harlequins.
Round Ten Fixtures:
Endeavour Hills v Moorabbin
Footscray v Melbourne Uni
Harlequin Rugby Club v Box Hill
Melbourne v Power House
In Canberra, round twelve of the John I Dent Cup saw Easts go down 36-51 to Wests, Tuggeranong beat Gungahlin 31-21, and Queanbeyan beat Uni-Norths 24-17.
Royals v Easts
Tuggeranong v Queanbeyan
Wests v Gungahlin
Uni-Norths have the bye.
In South Australia, round eight of the Coopers Premier Grade saw Onkaparinga go down in a thriller to Old Collegians 34-36, Woodville lose at home to Souths Suburbs 31-38, and Burnside defeat Brighton 32-27.
Round Nine Fixtures:
Burnside v Onkaparinga
Brighton v Souths Suburbs
Woodville v Old Collegians
Over in beautiful Perth, round eleven of the Fortescue Metals Premier Grade saw Palmyra defeat the Cavaliers 34-31, Wests thumped the Lions 75-7, Cottlesloe defeated UWA 32-22, Kalamunda defeated Joondalip 27-25, Nedlands won at home against Wanneroo, 48 – 20 and Associates prevailed over Perth Bayswater 38-27.
Round Twelve Fixtures:
UWA v Kalamunda
Coastal Cavaliers v Wests Scarborough
ARKs v Joondalup
Southern Lions v Nedlands
Wanneroo Districts v Associates
Perth Bayswater v Cottesloe
Palmyra have the bye.
And finally, round thirteen of the Hospital Challenge Cup saw Uni of Queensland defeat Sunnybank 29-26, Brothers defeat Souths 28-19, Easts fell to Bond Uni 17-22, and Norths defeated Wests 37-19.
Sunnybank v Easts
Bond University v Brothers
GPS v Norths
Souths v Wests
University of Queensland has the bye.
Rugby Australia have added another critical member to their national structure, with it being announced that Cameron Murray would take on the role of Chief Commercial Officer, starting July 20.
If most of you folks don’t know who Cameron Murray is, no fuss.
He is no stranger to sporting landscapes, having just finished a stint on the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Organising Committee. Add to that, he’s also worked for the Gold Coast Titans in the NRL, and had also worked for the Nine Network.
Raelene Castle was pretty chuffed with the appointment, and let everyone know about it when she spoke to rugby.com.au.
“Cameron is a very experienced senior executive who comes with a specific blend of skills that will enable us to take our commercial program to the next level,” she said.
“He has driven transformational outcomes for the businesses he has led and has strong relationships across both the sports and media industries which positions him well to take on a very important role within Rugby Australia.
“Cameron will provide strong leadership across Rugby Australia’s commercial program, including our partnerships, marketing and operations teams and we look forward to officially welcoming him into the role at the end of July.”
Murray is predicted to be the first of two major executive appointments to the governing body, with the second appointment forthcoming.
Probably old news at this point
On Thursday, Rugby Australia announced that it would launch an appeal into World Rugby’s one match suspension of Israel Folau.
The meeting was scheduled for 8pm last night, and as of this going to be published nothing has been heard from the folks over at Rugby HQ.
Many folks at the Waratahs have made it clear that that they want Izzy back, as his potency as an attacking weapon will be crucial for their season defining clash against the Rebels tonight.
Daryl Gibson has gone even further though however, saying that should the band stand, it would run the risk of legislating the aerial contest into oblivion.
“It really makes us look at the kick contest area and exactly how we can, if it goes this way, how we can provide a law that covers or provides for what is happening in terms of the collisions and guys landing on their heads,” he said to Yahoo News.
This comes after comments made to ESPN by All Blacks coach Steve Hansen that World Rugby was lacking leadership on the issue.
Hansen sympathised with Michael Cheika‘s frustrations post match last Saturday.
“It’s an area of the game that World Rugby needs to take some ownership of and lead,” Hansen said.
“You’ve got Cheiks not happy with how his game is reffed too. It’s got faster, it’s got really fluid but we haven’t really changed the way we ref.
“It has got to a point where we have got to do something because it is starting to affect the game.”
Hansen even highlighted that ref Angus Gardner followed the laws of the game when he gave a red card in the second All Blacks-France test, but it was rescinded by the governing body later in the week.
“I was talking to Gus (Gardner) and he is shrugging his shoulders (saying) ‘what do I do?’,” Hansen said.
“I said ‘well, you can’t do anything other than what you did’.
“World Rugby now have to go away and have a look at it themselves. Common sense should surely prevail.”
Watch this space Friday morning for the handing down of the Folau fisaco.