Friday’s Rugby News has a voice for the players, a new Reds flyhalf, no Hunt and a honey badger.
Test rugby stars demand a greater say
Ahead of the summit to nut out the Global Championship rugby players around the world are demanding a permanent seat at the table. The International Players Council (IRPC) are demanding a permanent voice in any negotiations regarding the future of the game. The real question is why haven’t they had a voice in the past?
Australian member, and Wallabies captain, Michael Hooper said following a conference call of the players’ council: “We want to be part of key decisions in the game. However, at the moment we don’t have a proper seat at the table to exert any influence.
“Players understand, better than anyone, what happens at the coalface and how certain decisions impact both the players and the broader game, so it would be counterproductive to cast the player view aside.
“We want to ensure that the players have independently appointed representation on the World Rugby executive committee and other key decision-making bodies.”
Wales skipper Alun Wyn Jones voiced a similar viewpoint.
“We want to ensure there will be no repeat of the current situation and that the frustrations over the lack of player consultation are addressed,” he said in the statement.
“It’s in the interest of our game that World Rugby and the unions convene with the playing population so that proper solutions can be agreed. Players having a genuine, and greater say, can’t be undervalued.”
Brian O’Driscoll added that it was “a pivotal moment for everyone in our sport” and vital that it was approached in the right way.
“The players … want to work with World Rugby, unions, provinces and clubs to genuinely explore what may be possible,” he said.
Another Flyhalf For The Reds
The Reds have named their third flyhalf in as many games. Hamish Stewart has been groomed for the job for a few years now but hasn’t seemed to have been able to convince the coaches of his worth. He was named for the first game of the season at 10 but in reality, Bryce Hegarty did the bulk of the playmaking. All pretence of Stewart playing flyhalf was set aside for the second game with Hegarty taking over the reins and Stewart moving to the bench. Now with Hegarty’s rib injury ruling him out Isaac Lucas gets a crack with Stewart starting at fullback. Lucas has got his shot after only one start in Super Rugby but it might sound a death knell for Stewart’s playmaking ambitions if he can’t hold the position ahead of a rookie.
In other news, the Reds have chosen to rest key Wallabies Taniella Tupou and Izack Rodda for 2019 surprise packets the Sunwolves. The Sunwolves are already the bookie’s favourites for the game and without the grunt of the two forwards the task for the Reds has just got harder.
The Reds Team
15 Hamish Stewart, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Samu Kerevi (c), 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Sefa Naivalu, 10 Isaac Lucas, 9 Moses Sorovi, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Harry Hockings, 3 Ruan Smith, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 JP Smith
Replacements:16 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Feao Fotuaika, 19 Angus Blyth, 20 Caleb Timu, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Teti Tela, 23 Filipo Daugunu
Out Of The Hunt!
The Waratahs have lost their hard inside centre for their key match against the Brumbies. Karmichael Hunt was a late withdrawal succumbing to a hamstring injury at the 11 hour.
The Brumbies are not without their own dramas losing Alan Alaalatoa and David Pocock to injury as well. Both teams are desperate for a win to keep in touch with the high flying Rebels who sit atop of the Australian conference with three wins.
Hunts withdrawal has forced a backline reshuffle at the Tahs. Folau moves from the wing to Fullback. Beale moves to inside Centre and Curtis Rona plays outside centre instead of getting a rest this week.
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Lausii Taliauli, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Lachlan Mccaffrey, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements:16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 James Slipper, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Murray Douglas, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Jordan Jackson-Hope, 23 Mack Hansen
Waratahs: 15, Israel Folau, 14, Curtis Rona 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Jed Holloway, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Harry Johnson-Holmes
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Rory O’Connor, 18 Chris Talakai, 19 Ryan Mccauley, 20 Lachlan Swinton, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Mack Mason, 23 Cameron Clark
Honey Badger Named In World 15
Nick Cummins has been named in a World 15 to play the Force on the 22 March in Perth. Cummins might be past his prime but he’ll still pull a big crowd in the west and is more than able to liven up an interview. The team will be coached by former Wallabies coach Robbie Deans and also includes three world cup winning All Blacks. The guys will get together four days before the game to get their secret moves worked out but shouldn’t have too much trouble working things out before kick off.
WORLD XV SQUAD:
Gio Aplon (South Africa), Yoshikazu Fujita (Japan), Nick Cummins (Australia), Digby Ioane (Australia), Dylan Riley (Australia), Inga Finau (New Zealand), Kosei Ono (Japan), Leon Fukofuka (Tonga), Andy Ellis (New Zealand, captain), Leonardo Senatore (Argentina), Hugh Renton (New Zealand), Michael Curry (New Zealand), Shota Fukui (Japan), Michael Oakman-Hunt (Australia), Jack Cornelsen (Australia), Hamish Dalzell (New Zealand), Tom Moloney (Australia), Chris King (New Zealand), Shohei Hirano (Japan), Wyatt Crockett (New Zealand), Greg Pleasants-Tate (New Zealand), Corey Flynn (New Zealand)