Friday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Fridays Rugby News sees the power of our game, the Wallaroos building depth, Cooper and Genia going and the game doing better than ever (globally). 

The Inaugural Kolia Cup

It was a tough season for the Two Blues (Image Credit - AJF Photography)

The Two Blues (Image Credit – AJF Photography)

We start today’s news with a small reminder of the power of rugby and how it brings people together.

In Sydney, this weekend’s Western Sydney Two Blues fixture v Randwick will see the two teams compete for the inaugural Kolia Cup, named in honour of Two Blues Colts player Kolia Aigaga-Liko, who the club tragically lost to suicide last year.

To honour the memory of Kolia, the winning team will be awarded the Kolia Cup.  The Two Blues will be wearing a commemorative jersey promoting Lifeline, with a Pasifika design and brandishing the message that “It aint weak to speak”.

The day will also feature two very special Pasifika performances by Kolia’s family and representatives of Western Sydney University, where Kolia attended, as well as a day of Pasifika music celebrating the clubs ties to the Pasifika community and Kolia’s heritage.

Whilst tragic circumstances have lead to this special round, it is hoped that by highlighting this very real situation, it will  assist in supporting anyone who may be finding things a bit tough. This is a frankly awesome initiative by the Two Blues to talk about this topic, to encourage anyone experiencing difficulties to talk to someone as help and support is always available.

The Kolia Cup will take place from 12pm at Lidcombe Oval, Church Street, Lidcombe, and we highly recommend you get down there for a great day of footy, supporting a great cause that is close to the hearts of many. And if you ever need help, you can call Lifeline at any time on 13 11 44.

It ain’t weak to speak.

Here are the other club games happening this weekend:

Shute Shield:
Eastern Suburbs v Sydney University
Eastwood v Gordon
Southern Districts v Manly
West Harbour v Warringah
Western Sydney v Randwick (Kolia Cup)

Hospital Challenge Cup:
GPS v Sunnybank
University of Queensland v Brothers
Wests v Bond University
Easts v Norths

John I Dent Cup:
Queanbeyan v Easts
Tuggeranong v Wests
Royals v Gungahlin

Dewar Shield: 
Harlequins v Footscray
Power House v Moorabbin
Endeavour Hills v Melbourne
Melbourne University v Box Hill

Fortescue Premier Grade (Premiership Division):
Wests v Cottlesloe
Nedlands v Associates
UWA v Wanneroo

Challengers Await

Wallaroos anthem (Credit Keith McInnes)

The Wallaroos sing the anthem

It’s exciting times for the Wallaroos.

Ahead of their first game against Japan this weekend in Newcastle, Sarah Riordan and Alisha Hewett admitted to that over their preparation, a lot of younger rookie players have given the senior veterans a run for their money.

Riordan has admitted though that acting as a teacher for the younger players has been a lot of fun.

“Probably just  using my experience (is where I’ll be of most use),” Riordan said.

“There’s a lot of new girls in the team, so just using my experience that I’ve had from past Test matches  and I’ve played against Japan in the last World Cup.

“Just being that mentor for them on the ground will probably be the best role for me.”

However, while there is improved depth in the team, Riordan admitted that she plans to be at the 2021 Womens World Cup.

“You always want to strive for more and get the most you can out of this sport,” she said.

“Even though it’s a long, long way away, (the next World Cup) is a goal that I have set myself. In the meantime we’ll just focus on this year.

“There’s a lot of new talent coming through which makes me work a lot harder, I’m getting a bit on the back end of my career, I suppose but it’s good, it makes you work harder.”

It’s clear that the Aon Uni Sevens and the Super W is already reaping rewards for the Wallaroos, and Hewitt admitted that the competition for the starting fifteen has been strong.

“It’s awesome to have all these youngsters coming through because they keep me on my toes,” says Hewitt.

“Just the progression from where I started to where I am now, it’s lifted immensely and it’s great to see the growth and depth in the squad come through because that’s just going to build us into a better team moving forward.

“I think these next two Test matches are really going to set the platform, particularly moving towards the matches against New Zealand.

“It gives us the opportunity to play with each other against another country and work out what our strengths and weaknesses are and them moving forward to work on those.”

Tickets are reportedly selling fast for the match, so if you’re in Newcastle this weekend be sure to get along. Check out the remaining ticket options here. 

As of writing on Thursday night, the starting fifteen is still to be named. Once they are, I’ll add it in the comments.

Mass Exodus

Quade Cooper passes watched by Matt Philip Luke Jones Waratahs v Rebels 2019 (Credit Keith McInnes)

And another one’s gone, and another one’s gone…

The exodus continues, and this time, we’re down in Melbourne.

The Rebels are set to lose their two biggest stars, with Will Genia and Quade Cooper joining the latest batch of Wallabies chasing fortunes overseas.

Both players are set to join second-tier Top Challenge Team the Kintetsu Liners, and with their domestic season not far off, their move could be sooner rather than later.

Genia, due to expected World Cup commitments, is expected to link up after the end of the tournament.

However, Cooper, having not being selected, could start as early as September.

“My aim is to do my best and, through my play, I would like to make this the number one team in Japan,” Genia said in a statement, published in the West. 

“I will work hard to take the team back to Top League,” added Cooper.

“When we reach the Top League, then I want to contribute more again at that stage.

“I want to challenge rugby in Japan, and I can still contribute on the pitch.”

Their move is the latest in a huge exodus of players from Australia, with David Pocock also moving to Japan next year. Interestingly though, All Blacks Kieran Read, Brodie Retallick and Ryan Crotty will also be heading to Japan, along with South African loose forward Duane Vermeulen.

And that doesn’t even take into consideration all of the players that will be going to Europe next year as well.

The power money has.

Seeing the Light

Photo: Franco Perego/World Rugby

Photo: Franco Perego/World Rugby

While it is often the narrative here in Australia that the game is struggling, in the greater scheme of things, we are very much in a minority, or at least according to World Rugby. In a recent report released by the global governing body, it’s been revealed that the game globally is doing better than ever.

Released on Wednesday, World Rugby Year in Review 2018 reported that last year an unprecedented 9.6 million men, women and children playing the game around the world. This includes 2.7 million women, up 10 percent on the previous year.

Excitingly the total number of registered female players grew by an impressive 28 percent to 581,000 across World Rugby’s member unions. This comes during the first full year of implementation of World Rugby’s ambitious plan, Accelerating the global development of women in rugby 2017-25, which aims to support the growth and development of the women’s game and promote parity,” said the global body in a statement, published on RugbyPass. 

“That success was matched off the field by increased engagement levels from female fans – 38 percent increase in video views by women and the growth of the World Rugby and Rugby World Cup female audience on Twitter to more than 30 percent.

“It was also reflected in increased diversity at the highest levels of the game in a year when World Rugby added 17 new female members to its Council and New Zealand was named as first-time hosts of Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021.

Other results included 2.82 million boys and girls participating in Get Into Rugby programs,  over 1 million people in Asia being involved in rugby (a first for the game), and over 534 million online video views occurred around viewing World Rugby tournaments.

However, it wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine.

The statement continued: “Off the field, player welfare remains World Rugby’s number one priority with the international federation focusing on evidence-based injury prevention at all levels of the sport. Alongside its ongoing focus on research, World Rugby’s training and education programmes remain core to its strategy, with more than 2,700 training courses delivered worldwide in 2018.”

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “2018 was another special year for rugby as we watched the sport continue to prosper and grow both on and off the field. Within a total playing population of 9.6 million it was fantastic to see our Get Into Rugby programme – run in partnership with unions and regions – continue to break participation records with over two million girls and boys worldwide getting involved for the second year in a row amid a growing global interest of 800 million people.”

Check out the findings of the report here.

  • Patrick

    Japan are going to have a hell of a competition next year. And any lucky young Japanese up’n’comers are going to have role models and mentors left right and centre…!

    Maybe Japan will be a major rugby power in 10 years’ time.

    • AllyOz

      Not necessarily the way it has worked in France in terms of Frances open side but they have a World Cup winning U20’s I guess. Certainly, you would be able to select a decent Wallabies side from those playing in Japan next season (and even to Wallaby 10s in the case of Foley and Genia). Perhaps we should organise a carnival between Australia Japan vs Australia France vs Australia UK.

      • Patrick

        Yes. France’s main problem was skills development – recent U20s results suggest that this is getting better. This was exacerbated by catastrophic coaching at the national level. Guy Noves is a pretty good coach so maybe they are on the right track?

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Nick,

    Go the Wallaroos. l
    I hope Genia and Cooper do well in Japan. I think Cooper has been hard done by a bit and it’ll be good for him to get off shore for a bit. With Genia being so much a part of the Wallaby set up for so long and with no succession planning in place and the same for both 10 and 12 I think next season will be a bit disruptive. It’s going to be interesting to see how the coaching selection will go and how that person will manage the transition.

    Great idea on the Kolia cup and I hope things like this give players some incentive to speak out and get help before they are in the same situation.

  • Missing Link

    As much as the player exodus makes me nervous about Australian rugby, lets be honest 95% of departures wont be around in 2023. I have come to terms with the fact we may not win a Bledisloe Cup or Rugby Championship between now and then either but our 2023 RWC squad is going to be made up of a lot of new faces and they’ll should have close to 50 odd tests under their belt by then… We also don’t know if super rugby will exist in 2021. We could be looking at a trans tasman comp between NRC and NPC teams or some sort of collaborative effort including GRR, who knows.

  • joy

    This is a mass exodus from RA for all it has done and all it has failed to do. Who would blame them?

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      No it isn’t. It’s simply the typical post-world cup exodus that we go through over cycle now, and which will continue to worsen in the coming years as salaries between super rugby and the NH continue to widen.

  • Hoss

    My fellow Australians and lesser nationalities – good morning.

    So Sanchez & The Sunshine Band are turning Japanese – i really think so ! Good luck to them, fill your boots boys and enjoy.

    Pumped for the weekend got tickets the ‘Number 2′ as we call it in Godsville, although it is home of the Wanderers Club and as any good Novacastrian Rugby player knows, the only good Wanderer is a punched in the face Wanderer, but i digress. Pumped for the for the Wallaroos v Nippon XV then i am off to Disney on Ice with the tin-lids straight after. Seeing people perform on ice up here is not unusual, i could normally just go to a Newcastle Knights game, but when there’s Disney Princesses in leotards – i’m in

    The Wallabies maintain their unbeaten 2019 run this weekend – talk about building momentum – simmering along nicely.

    Lastly i cant speak highly enough of the Western Sydney Two Blues. What a wonderful gesture. How truly thoughtful, caring and respectful and just plain outright decent. To young Kolia’s family i hope you find some joy & happiness on the day and in the tough days ahead.

    The inclusive fabric of our game will always be stronger than that of those who try to unpick its stitching.

  • Hoss
    • Funk

      What a shame he didn’t do it earlier.
      sorry, but if you lob them up they deserve to be hit!

    • Keith Butler

      Do I sense irony or are you truely bereft at the loss? At least Mason will get game time or will someone, Debreczini for example, be parachuted in to further his G&G ambitions.

      • Hoss

        Genuinely upset – it was my favourite Nickname !

        Mack mason deserves first crack mate and if no joy, then Will Harrison from Aussie U20 side (hes a talent that one)

        Don’t know you’d get a ‘known’ name at this time with no coach appointed yet (they called me to offer, but i couldn’t be bothered living in Sydney – bugger that. The best thing to come from Sydney is the F1 heading north)

        Gibson seemed a decent human, but didn’t he completely shag the poodle in 2019 – to the point you can almost right 2020 off already and hope for improvement in the later stages of 21. Hi retention, recruitment and succession plans seem non-existent.

  • Nicholas Wasiliev


    Wallaroos team to face Japan on Saturday at Newcastle Sportsground No.2

    (1-15): Emily Robinson, Averyl Mitchell, Evelyn Horomia, Michaela Leonard, Alisha Hewett, Millie Boyle, Emily Chancellor, Grace Hamilton (c), Cobie-Jane Morgan, Trileen Pomare, Mhicca Carter, Ariana Hira-Herangi, Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea, Samantha Treherne, Mahalia Murphy.

    Bench: Ashley Marsters, Liz Patu, Eva Karpani, Rebecca Clough, Shannon Mato, Arabella McKenzie, Lori Cramer.

    Three debutants in the squad, including long talked about QLD prodigy Lefau-Fakaosilea. I can’t wait for this match!

    • Da Munch

      Any coverage of the game?

  • Onside

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